1 Jul 2019

Tuvalu landowners block airport over lease non-payment

5:39 pm on 1 July 2019

Fiji Airways was forced to cancel its flight to Tuvalu on Saturday after a dispute between landowners and government over land lease payments led to a blockade of the international airport.

Funafuti Airport Terminal in Tuvalu

Funafuti Airport Terminal in Tuvalu Photo: Tuvalu Government Media

Radio Tuvalu News said the passengers on the flight were stranded in Nausori in Va.

A senior Fiji Airways official, told the radio station the airline cancelled its flight because it was too risky to try and land.

Two large trucks were parked on the runway.

A spokesperson for the landowners, Semi Vine, said the landowners of Funafuti want to take their land back because government has failed to sign a new lease deal last week.

The secretary to government, Tine Leuelu, said the matter was resolved and the trucks were removed by Saturday evening.