Tuvalu only has one airport, on Funafuti Atoll. By international standards, Funafuti Airport is rather basic. There’s no fencing around the runway, the island fire truck runs up and down the runway with its siren warning of arriving flights, and the terminal is a small, blue painted building. But imagine it back 40 years ago in the 1970s.
At the time of my visit, there were two flights a week from Suva in Fiji. Here are my photos of the terminal in 2010, one of a flight day (with fire truck parked next to the apron) and the other on a non-flight day (with next to no activity).
I found some photos of Funafuti Airport taken in the early 1970s. Funafuti Airport terminal after Hurricane Bebe in November 1972 appears to have been not much more than a tent.
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Judging by the looks on the islanders’ faces the arrival of an aircraft from Fiji was pretty exciting stuff! The pretty young women of course didn’t wear make-up but made up for it with flowers in their hair and garlands around their necks.
And here’s the 1973 flight to Funafuti – an Air Pacific HS148.
This 15 passenger aircraft was originally designed in the 60s by Avro and later produced by Hawker Siddeley (HS748) . En route to Funafuti the Flight Engineer came out of the cockpit and sat in the vacant seat in front of me and looked out to the starboard engine with binoculars I asked him what he was doing and he said the engine had a oil leak!