NZ Led Force Declares Fau’amotu Airport Open
New Zealand Led Joint Task Force declares Fau’amotu Airport Open
The New Zealand led Combined Joint Task Force newly arrived in Tonga wasted no time in securing the airport and confirmed the airport open for civilian air travel this morning.
The Combined Joint Task Force of New Zealand and Australian personnel arrived early evening on Saturday 18 November. Their first role was to secure the Tongan international airport to enable the resumption of civilian air travel.
Lieutenant Colonel Darren Beck, Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force was pleased at how the operation went. “The situation was calm and we were able to get off the plane and send troops out to the perimeter of the airfield while unloading the plane. The Australian contingent arrived shortly after and we were able to bolster the security provided to the airport”.
Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Rear Admiral Jack Steer said the operation had gone smoothly. “Air travel is able to take place now, however the Tongan Government has as per their normal routine closed the airport while airport staff observed Sunday religious activities along with the rest of the Tongan community”.
“The Airport is expected to be open on Monday where it will be business as usual”.
The Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Beck will be meeting with New Zealand High Commission and Tongan Defence Services, Chief of Defence Force today.
Currently 350 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on peacekeeping operations and UN missions, in 19 missions across 15 countries.