Weekly flight to Tonga from China under negotiation

A weekly direct flight to Tonga from mainland China is being negotiated and is planned to be launched before the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

This means Tonga may be the first country in the South Pacific, besides New Zealand and Australia, to receive a flight from mainland China.

The deal will contribute to increasing the number of tourists to Tonga as well as increasing foreign exchange earnings.

Last week, a Chinese delegation from the Fujian Tourism Development Co. Ltd. was in Tonga for further negotiations with the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Infrastructure (Aviation).

Ministry of Tourism CEO, Sione Moala-Mafi told Matangi Tonga the negotiation is part of a continuous process to finalize the preparation and agreements for the flights.

“The next step will be the consultants from the airlines - South China Air - will be here by the end or early next month to look at the issues regarding the airport's services.”

He said the type of aircraft used for the flight will be either a A330 or 747 Boeing aircraft which can land on the Fua’amotu International Airport runway.

No additional airport expansion works are planned, however Sione said the airport authority was currently upgrading the arrivals area for more space and that no upgrades to the runway was necessary.

The direct flight deal was initiated last year in China between a Tongan delegation including Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Semisi Sika, Tongan Ambassador to PRC HE Tau'aika Uta’atu, Ministry of Tourism CEO Sione Moala-Mafi, Ministry of Infrastructure CEO Ringo Faoliu, and the Chinese Tourism and Trade Commissioner for Fujian Mr Chen Zhining.