Australia will provide financial assurances for Lulutai to partner with Fiji Airways to operate up to seven flights a week between Vava’u and Tongatapu during the month of February.
The Australian Government plans to continue these arrangements for this critical connectivity until
at least 30 June 2023, while Lulutai’s fleet undergoes maintenance.
Last week Australia and Tonga worked quickly on a similar arrangement which enabled the restoration of flights between Tongatapu and Vava’u on 30 January.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Tonga, Rachael Moore said the Australian Government is committed to a well-connected Pacific, underpinned by safe and reliable aviation services.
“We acknowledge that air services are critical for Tonga. Aviation is essential for economic recovery by generating trade, promoting tourism, creating employment opportunities, as well as for keeping families connected.”
Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku worked closely with Australia to negotiate this arrangement and thanked Australia for its responsiveness.
“We thank the Government of Australia for this response, and for their ongoing support to Lulutai to support a strong and sustainable domestic airline”.
Australia is providing technical advice to Lulutai to develop a long-term business plan. In recent months, Australia has supported Lulutai Airlines to access critical training for pilots and engineers to ensure Tonga’s domestic routes are safely serviced.
Moore said Australia will also continue to facilitate opportunities for training and ground support equipment and aviation weather infrastructure to support uplift capability and efficiency.
Photo PM Press