Controversial Tonga MA60 Aircraft To Resume Vava‘u Flights

Chinese donated aircraft recently leased by Real Tongan Airline

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Sept. 20, 2016) – Tonga's MA60 aircraft was scheduled to fly Vava'u at 3:00pm, today Tevita Palu, the CEO for Palu Aviation announced this morning at Fua’amotu Airport.

The 56-seater aircraft, a gift from the Chinese Government to the Tongan Government, has faced difficulties of remaining in service since it landed at Fua’amotu Airport in July 2013.

After it arrived the MA60 was operated by the Real Tongan Airline until February 2015 when the Tongan government  suspended its domestic operation and took it back from the operator.

However, early last month, August, Tevita announced that the Real Tonga Airlines had leased the MA60 from the government for four years and it was to resume service to Vava’u soon.

Tevita this morning clarified that the delay in getting the service underway was over trying to finalise an insurance policy for the aircraft.

He said that for a start the MA60 will fly domestically once a week from Tongatapu to Vava’u, and then they will increase the frequency if needed.

Apia

Real Tonga has also announced they plan to start a new service between Tonga and Apia next month, using a different aircraft.

Tevita admitted that one of the difficulties of their operation is that they are using five different kinds of aircraft.

He also pointed out that national airlines in the region are owned by the government, excepting Tonga. He said that he has offered Real Tonga to the Tongan government “at no cost” but they were not interested.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
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