Lulutai Airlines accused of ‘poor services’, failure to refund cancelled flight passengers

Flight cancellations continue in Vava’u after Lulutai airlines had been accused of failing to refund or reapprove passengers whose flights had been cancelled.

Critics said the government’s funded sole domestic carrier is the poorest service ever in the kingdom.

The flight cancellation last Saturday came after the services were disrupted last month and a Fiji aircraft was hired to takeover.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku said in Parliament the lack of pilots due to Covid’s impacts contributed to the disruptions.

He said one pilot only was available while the rest did not have any chance during the pandemic to renew their license.

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He said the pilots are only allowed to work according to certain number of hours and they could not exceed that.

He said that an ATR72 aircraft from Fiji was expected to fly the stranded passengers with three flights starting on November 30.   

The House was told some passengers checked in at the airport with their connecting flight tickets but were told their names were not on the passenger list.

MP Piveni Piukala said these passengers lost the money they paid for their tickets just because their original flight had been cancelled.

“Who is responsible for this”, he asked in Parliament.

He accused the Airlines of lack of flexibility and said it should have a clear policy in place for its flight changes and passenger refunds.  

Meanwhile, a lawyer and former MP Sunia Manu Fili said Lulutai airlines was the poorest service ever in the kingdom.

“Ko e maulalo taha eni he fakahoko fatongia ki he fepunaaki ko e kautaha lulutai, ikai ha poto pe taukei”, he said on Facebook in Tongan.

He accused the national airline of lacking experience and skills.

A prominent businesswoman who operates a number of guest houses in Vava’u and Tongatapu described the conditions of the poor services as “five steps forward and six backwards”

Yvette Guttenbeil Paea said: “Feel sorry for my guests coming all the way from USA to visit Vava’u .. cannot book their flight online and on arrival, cannot get a seat as there was no flight the other day to Vavau .. waited the next day at airport, still cannot get a seat. Such is the norm nowadays”.

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