2 Apr 2009

Tonga fish exporters say economy can't cope with cancelled flights

2:51 pm on 2 April 2009

The Fishing Industry Association in Tonga says the sector cannot cope with any disruption to scheduled air freight exports.

The comment follows the cancellation of a flight two Saturdays ago after a volcano on Hunga Ha'apai Island erupted.

Between a hundred and a hundred and 50 thousand US dollars worth of fish was unable to be exported on time because of the cancellation, something the association's Naitilima Tupou says the fishing industry can ill afford.

"It probably would have brought better results if there was a proper process in place and we commnicated a little bit better with each other between the exporters, the association, the airline and government, where we were able to discuss the repercussions of the cancellation of that flight and probably put a plan into place."

Naitilima Tupou of Tonga's Fishing Industry Association.

Tonga's Minister for Transport, Paul Karalus, says the law permits flights on Sunday where they are the result of a disruption to the Saturday schedule but he accepts people need to be reminded of the provision.