24 Mar 2009

Flights back to normal but Tongan volcanoes still erupting

2:26 pm on 24 March 2009

The undersea volcanoes which erupted near Tonga's Hunga Ha'pai island last week are still spewing ash, but are causing no further problems to air traffic.

Last week, the local newspaper Matangi Tonga reported that two Air New Zealand night flights into Tonga were postponed because of the potential hazard caused by volcanic ash, but an airline spokeperson says the flights are now back to normal.

A spokesperson for the domestic airline Chathams Pacific says only one flight was cancelled last week, but their five daily flights daily are back on schedule.

Meanwhile, Tonga's head geologists, Kelepi Mafi, says after last week's visit to the site they're hoping to return with another group of scientists

"There are some other interested parties from overseas who indicated their willingness to come and visit the site which is another opportunity for us to go and visit there."

Mr Mafi says there's also growing interest from tourists to visit the site.