7 Apr 2004

Airport lighting failure at Pago Pago caused by after-effects of Cyclone Heta

10:38 am on 7 April 2004

Airport authorities in American Samoa have blamed air traffic problems with runway lights on the after-effects of Cyclone Heta.

On two recent occasions, planes were forced to circle over Pago Pago International airport because the pilots could not trigger the lights to come on.

The Airport Manager, Peter Lefiti, says until now, they were unaware that the lighting system was damaged by the cyclone three months ago.

"When it rains, we didn't realise that water was getting into the antenna, which corroded the connection. So when it dries, when its hot, like it is right now, there's no problem, with the lights going on and off. It just started, the problem happened last week. We're tracing it and now we've ordered an additional antenna so the FAA's giving us one to replace it, so the problem is solved."