TONGA AIRLINE GROUNDS DOMESTIC FLIGHTS

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 18) - Royal Tongan Airlines says the scarcity of spare parts and has forced it to cancel all domestic services.

The Tonga Broadcasting Corporation reports that both the airlines’ domestic aircraft, a DHC6 Twin Otter and a Short 360, require backup spare parts as part of their scheduled maintenance and repair program in order to gain airworthiness certificates.

The announcement comes on top of the closure of the international operations of its national carrier.

Last month, Royal Brunei Airlines repossessed the Boeing 757 Royal Tongan Airlines has been using for flights to Sydney, Rarotonga, Auckland and Honolulu.

Tonga must now rely on international services by Air New Zealand, Polynesian Airlines, Air Pacific and Air Fiji.

May 19, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/

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