NZDF Tonga aid flight delayed due to ash on runway

Source: 1News

A New Zealand Defence Force flight to Tonga, scheduled for Tuesday, has been delayed due to ash on the runway.

The C-130 Hercules was expected to deliver urgent supplies to the island nation following the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai underwater volcano on Saturday.

It comes after the United Nations said the clearance of ash was set to be completed by Tuesday.

The airfield is expected to open on Wednesday, January 19 or Thursday, January 20, a New Zealand Defence Force spokesperson told 1News.

“An air drop option was considered but was not the preference of the Tongan authorities,” the spokesperson said.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft carried out a reconnaissance flight on Monday morning.