Jan 17. The tiny Polynesian kingdom of Tonga – population 105,697 – does not often show up on the global news radar. However, following a violent eruption of an underwater volcano on January 15th, the world’s eyes quickly turned to this remote corner of the Pacific, southwest of Fiji.
The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past decade. In late 2014 and early 2015, eruptions even created a small new island and caused some disruptions to international flights.
However, no incident came close to the scale of the one this Saturday, which prompted tsunami warnings and evacuation orders throughout most of the Pacific Islands. Furthermore, airlines have been forced to cancel flights from Australia to Fiji due to huge volcanic ash clouds.
Anyone stranded in airports due to the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull knows what havoc ash from volcanoes can wreak on flight schedules. At first, Fiji Airways canceled all services for Monday, along with those of its domestic and regional branch, Fiji Link (previously known as Pacific Sun).
Source: Simple Flying.