TONGA SUSPENDS DOMESTIC AIRLINE’S LICENSE

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Financial problems sideline Airline Tonga

NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 2, 2008) – Airline Tonga's, Air Operators Certificate (AOC) has been temporarily suspended as of September 8, the Minister of Transport Hon. Paul Karalus confirmed today.

He stressed that Airline Tonga had been given a temporary suspension - and not a revocation of their AOC license - due to the long termination of their domestic air service since August 22.

[PIR editor’s note: Airline Tonga, one of two domestic air carriers in Tonga, suspended service on Aug. 23 because of financial problems. A handful of passengers was stranded in Vava'u and Ha'apai]

The Minister said that other factors taken into consideration in the suspension of Airline Tonga's AOC were a change in the airline's personnel, management and the shareholding of the company.

The Minister said that they would lift the temporary suspension of the airline's AOC when, and if, they get their operation together.

"They have informed us of their intention to fly again, and we will wait for that to happen," he said.

In the meantime a second domestic carrier, Chatham Pacific, is currently the sole operator of the domestic service.

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