This was announced by the airlines Chief Executive Officer, Tevita Palu to guests and the media about developments with Real Tonga Airlines in Nuku’alofa this week.
The airline’s MA60 aircraft will recommence services to Vava’u after being grounded for over 18 months.
The MA60 is a 56-seater aircraft and was a gift from the Chinese Government to the Tongan government, and Real Tonga Airlines has leased it for four years.
A press release said in February 2015, the government grounded the operation of the aircraft and took it back from Real Tonga.
The delay in getting the aircraft back into service has been in obtaining insurance.
The addition of the MA60 to the Real Tonga Airlines fleet now means there is now increased capacity in Tonga for inter-island flights, therefore allowing for diversification with the introduction of regional services.
Real Tonga Airlines is passionate about its people and their role in the community, and are pro-active in getting “Tongans” working in their airline and flying the airline.
Currently they have 20 expatriate staff and use the expertise on the team to upskill and train local staff.
In addition to this, Mr Palu mentioned plans to start up an aviation school in Tonga.
The importance of the role that government plays in the operation of their national airlines in our neighbouring Pacific nations, is evident in all the support that they give. Government fosters relationships with national carriers to provide a cost effective, yet safe and alternative transport for its public. It goes without saying, that having government backing is also beneficial for the local economy and provides opportunities for its people. The Tongan government, is the only Pacific Nation that does not offer this, despite CEO, Mr Tevita Palu’s offer of Real Tonga Airlines “at no cost”.
Real Tonga Airlines has daily services (except Sunday) to ‘Eua Island, Ha’apai, Vava’u and a weekly service to the Niua’s.
Photo:Facebook - Real Tonga Airlines aircraft