Hours after the Fiji Airways flight, carrying more than 200 passengers, including Fijians, departed from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, reports emerged that Hamas’ Al-Qassam had fired multiple rockets toward the airport.
As a result, all aircraft landings were denied due to the prevailing danger, and planes were either diverted or instructed to circle the area. Departures from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport were also temporarily suspended.
The reports come as the chartered Fiji Airways flight passengers including those who had traveled to Jerusalem to participate in the Feast of Tabernacles, amongst them the paramount chief of the Burebasaga Confederacy Marama Na Gone Marama Bale na Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa. The returning contingent included local students studying agriculture in Israel and Pacific Islanders who were also part of the pilgrim tour.
They were warmly welcomed by family and friends upon their arrival at around 3am today at Nadi Airport.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, and Fiji Airways’ Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen, were also present at the airport to greet the passengers.
The original plan was for the group to depart from Fiji on October 11, but due to the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, they had to leave one day earlier than scheduled.