More than 130 Fiji Airways flights have been cancelled for 48 hours due to a tropical cyclone raging over the South Pacific nation.
Seventy-one flights to and from Fiji – including from Australian capital cities to Nadi – on Saturday on Fiji Airways and Fiji Link have been cancelled due to the category two cyclone.
Flights impacted include those flying between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
That’s after more than 60 flights were cancelled on Friday.
Other airlines, including Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia also have delayed or cancelled flights on Saturday.
“Following weather assessments, and forecast adverse conditions associated with Tropical Cyclone Sarai, a number of Fiji Link and Fiji Airways services for Friday 27 December 2019 and Saturday 28 December 2019, are affected,” the Fijian carrier’s website states.
“Fiji Airways apologises for any inconvenience caused to travel plans of, and reiterates that safety is always the airline’s highest priority.”
The Fiji weather bureau gusting winds lashing the region have been recorded as high as 140km/hr.
Torrential rain has caused flooding as Cyclone Sarai maintains its strength and speed as it heads towards Tonga after passing over Fiji.
Australian authorities had warned travellers that the cyclone was to hit on Friday.
More than 2000 people have been evacuated as Cyclone Sarai hit Fiji with more ferocity than forecast and is expected to reach the mainland on Saturday afternoon. https://t.co/qtB0kCvQED
— 10 daily (@10Daily) December 28, 2019
“Tropical Cyclone Sarai is expected to make landfall in Fiji on 27 December. Anticipate high winds, flooding, and storm surges,” the SmartTraveller website reads on Saturday.
“Stay in touch with friends and family, monitor local media for updates, and follow the advice of local authorities.”
Cyclone Sarai continues its slow movement around Fiji and communities in the western and northern divisions are experiencing strong gusts and heavy rain. Our teams are on standby to support with preparedness and response at the community level where needed.
Stay safe everyone! pic.twitter.com/srgQi7mv52
— Fiji Red Cross Society (@FijiRedCross) December 27, 2019