Real Tonga Airlines Concerns About Domestic Competition

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Government allows Fiji Airways to service Vava‘u

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 14, 2015) – Tonga’s sole domestic air carrier Real Tonga is concerned over the impact on the domestic service when Fiji Airways begins direct international flights to Vava’u from Nadi and Apia in November.

The plans for the new international connections were announced by the government on 12 May.

Real Tonga CEO, Tevita Palu said today he is concerned about Government’s decision to give a permit to Fiji Airways to service domestically because it will compete for the traffic to Vava’u.

He said that Real Tonga’s main source of revenue is from their flights to Vava’u, which in turn subsidises their services to the smaller outer islands of ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Niua.

"It is only Vava’u that is making money, which we use to continue the service to ‘Eua and Niua which are running at a loss, while the revenue from Ha’apai flucturates," he said.

"We depend on our Vava’u service and Fiji Airways coming will take up much of the Vava’u traffic. I think it was unwise for Government to give permit to a foreign airline to carry out domestic service to Vava’u without considering the domestic carrier," said Tevita.

Despite this Real Tonga, is still planning to go ahead with their business plans that will include bringing in a bigger aircraft to provide a regional service from Fiji, Samoa to Tonga.

Real Tonga Airline now operates only two small aircraft, a Jet Stream and Y12.

Recently, the domestic carrier in partnership with the Fiji Airways started a service, flying the Fiji Airways’ 68-seater aircraft between Tongatapu and Vava’u.

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