Passengers terrified as Lulutai aircraft struggles to leave ‘Eua’s Kaufana airport

Lulutai airlines flight from ‘Eua was cancelled this afternoon after the Y12 passenger aircraft veered off the runway during its take-off run.

The aircraft spent 20 minutes trying to take off before it returned to the terminal at Kaufana airport.

The incident was filmed and shared on Facebook.

Eyewitnesses said the aircraft appeared to have engine problems when it arrived at the airport.

A Tongan resident from Auckland told Kaniva News that when the aircraft touched down, it stuttered repeatedly before making it to the terminal.

The passengers inside the aircraft included a palagi woman and her children.

The man said he was in ‘Eua with a team of surveyors and they were waiting for the flight after the one that did not get off the ground. 

“It’s shocking and the government should look deep into this before something sinister happens”, Saia Latai told Kaniva News in Tongan.

“There are too much politics and this is the results,” he said.

Eyewitnesses said they could see smoke as the aircraft tried to leave Kaufana airport this afternoon about 4pm.

The 19-seater aircraft with passengers was scheduled to leave for Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, before returning to take on board the remaining passengers at Kaufana.

It was then announced the flight was cancelled.

Passengers waiting at the terminal appeared to be terrified and could be heard refusing to board the aircraft again.

They said they would take the ferry instead.

This afternoon’s incident comes after a passenger from New Zealand complained about her experience while flying from Nuku’alofa to Ha’apai last month on Lulutai airlines.

She said she regretted being in the aircraft after she heard a loud noise while they were in the air.

She said she thought the aircraft would crash.

Meanwhile, there were still ongoing complaints about the airline’s poor services, including unexpected cancellations of scheduled flights.

Passengers have complained that they have not received satisfactory answers when they have asked why the airline has not kept to its timetable.

Kaniva News has contacted the chief executive of Lulutai airline for comments on these previous incidents. 

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