Tonga govt. should ease NZ concerns over safety -Airline

The CEO of Real Tonga airline, Tevita Palu, says the government should communicate with New Zealand to ease any concerns they might have over domestic air safety.

He said a grounded MA-60 aircraft is expected to be used for Tonga's air service this month.

RNZ reports the MA-60 was gifted to Tonga by China in 2013 and started flying domestically in August of that year.

However, the New Zealand government called for the aircraft to be certified by an international recognised certification authority, suspending some aid and issuing a travel advisory for Tonga over its safety concerns.

New Zealand's foreign ministry website said safety standards can vary and should be closely monitored.

Mr Palu said Tonga's civil aviation authority has certified the MA-60 and recently implemented changes to Tonga's Civil Aviation act aligned standards with New Zealand's.

He hopes the country can soften their stance.

"The Government of Tonga should do what they are supposed to do and clarify these issues, if they have any issues or clarify any concerns. I think that's a role that government should confirm what's been done but from the airline's point of view, we go through the process as required."


The MA-60, which was gifted to Tonga by the Chinese Government, has been plagued with issues. Photo:Dmitry Malov