Real Tonga hits out at government over AOC suspension plans

Real Tonga hits out at government over AOC suspension plans

Real Tonga has hit out at the Tongan government over its decision to revoke the carrier's Air Operators Certificate (AOC) without officially notifying it. The move pertains to International concerns levied against the country's civil aviation authority in the wake of the diplomatic fallout between Tonga and New Zealand over Tonga's decision to deploy two MA 60s into service on domestic routes.

The Tongan press states Tongan Prime Minister, who is also the country's new Minister for Civil Aviation, Lord Tu’ivakano, wrote to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in late August informing them of measures he would implement after the International body raised concerns about Tonga’s civil aviation oversight, in particular its certification of the MA 60, and more recently, the Y12.

Among the measures Tu’ivakano proposed include the revocation of Real Tonga's current Air Operator Certificate forcing it to reapply for one in accordance with standards set by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand. In the interim period, Real Tonga's domestic operations would be outsourced to a New Zealand based carrier.

Real Tonga Chief Executive Officer and owner, Tevita Palu, told the Tonga Daily News that he was shocked to find out about government's decision via the media adding that as far as the Airline was concerned, it had followed all stipulated local guidelines in its certification.

That's so shocking to us that Tonga Government are considering bringing in a foreign operator to take over this air service for Tonga after all the promises and the effort we put together to serve Tonga's domestic air services. I'm very very disappointed to find out this way.

To placate Wellington's concerns, the Airline suspended the Chinese turboprops operations in favour of two Jetstream 32s leased from FlyPelican.

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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
New Zealand Aviation News Editor


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