Domestic airline

Tonga's only domestic airline secures overseas help

At a media conference, Tonga's Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni announced Australia would provide technical and financial support for the airline.

Hu'akavameiliku also rebutted media criticism of Lulutai management.

He said management acted quickly when finding out the aircraft was in a state of disrepair.

"When the report came out, it was something we need to address on the plane, it was sent to the manufacturer, and they said the next day to ground the plane, we ground the plane.

Questions emerge over future of Tonga's domestic airline

The Minister of Finance, Tevita Lavemaau, made the revelation in a government press statement.

Owner and CEO of Real Tonga, Tevita Palu, confirmed the situation but also gave his reasons for the airline being in debt for millions of dollars.

Mr Lavemaau said most of Real Tonga's indebtedness was to the government.

This is said to have been made up of the dry lease of two planes and landing fees that had not been paid.

China gifted Tonga two planes, a Y-12 and a MA60, to be used for domestic air services.

Tonga Govt considers second airline to serve outer islands

The move was urgent and the government had treated it as top priority, Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa told Kaniva News this week.

He said the government hoped this would help reduce the current airfare charges, which he described as very expensive (“fu’u mamafa’.)

Tonga’s only inter-island air travel services are provided by Real Tonga’s five aircraft

According to Real Tonga’s website a one way airfare ticket from Tongatapu to Vava’u next week  cost TP$382.50.

The Prime Minister did not go into the details of the second airline.

Tongan PM says another domestic airline a must

The Tonga Broadcasting Commission reports the government is looking at initiatives to help reduce complaints over expensive domestic airfares to the outer-islands.

The Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva said there are only two options - first is setting up of another airline to compete in the market and the second is to set up its own airline to provide cheaper fares.

This comes after several complaints over expensive fares to Vava'u.