14 June 2014

Jetstreams are not going to replace the MA 60 gifted to Tonga by China

Contrary to the Radio NZ report earlier this week that I posted Real Tonga are not scrapping their MA60...

Real Tonga has confirmed today that it is bringing in two Jetstream 32 aircrafts to supplement its fleet. The Jetstream 32 aircraft is a 19 seat turbo-prop and the airline is expecting delivery of the first aircraft within the next two weeks. The second aircraft will be phased into the operation later. Real Tonga’s Chief Executive, Mr Tevita Palu said that is part of the company’s long term plan. “The two aircraft are part of the airlines’ long-term fleet goals that will provide an improved service to Ha’apai in terms of product and speed. The aircraft will also provide important equipment back up for the MA60 aircraft on the Vava’u route, as well as providing options to the tourism market,” he said. “It is critical to ensure that the airline provides a fleet that provides operational back up, especially as we enter into our busy tourism season. If any aircraft in the fleet requires down time for unplanned maintenance, our fleet must be robust enough to ensure continued and smooth operations to avoid costly disruptions that will also have a negative impact on tourism and general passenger growth.” Mr Palu said the aircrafts are not going to replace the MA 60 gifted to Tonga by China. “No, they are a planned addition to our current aircraft composition to bolster fleet integrity. The fact that we can offer a choice of aircraft on all our routes is an added bonus,” he said. The aircraft will be on an ACMI or damp lease arrangement that will include the operation of the aircraft by crew from Fly Pelican Airlines, an airline operator from Australia. Meanwhile, Real Tonga also announced that a team of four pilots and four engineers will be leaving Tonga to travel to China on Saturday  June 14 to undergo training on the Harbin Y12 aircraft that will be gifted to the Government of Tonga from the Government of the People’s Republic of China later this year. The airline is currently operating an Y12 aircraft which is leased from Air Vanuatu, however, additional training is required, as the aircraft that is coming to Tonga is a more modern version that offers better payloads than the aircraft currently in use. ”The Y12 too is part of the airlines’ longer term fleet plans and the aircraft that is being gifted to the Government of Tonga will replace the currently leased Y12 from Air Vanuatu,” he said. Mr Palu also expressed his gratitude to Government for the assistance provided in setting up the training opportunity for the crew and engineers.


  1. Would be interesting if that newer Harbin Y12 is the Harbin Y12F

    20 Sep 2007
    Harbin Aircraft's latest Y-12 turboprop will have a larger fuselage, improved aerodynamics, a retractable landing gear and more powerful engines.

    The Y-12F is a passenger aircraft that seats 18 passengers - the same number as the original - but will have a wider fuselage, says Liang Zhenhe, vice-president of Harbin Aircraft's parent Aviation Industry Corporation II.

    The changes are being made because one of the Y-12's main export markets is the south Pacific and some airlines there said the aircraft needs to have larger seats to accommodate Pacific islanders who are generally large in build.

    There was also some "feedback from the market...that the speed of the Y-12 was not as quick as expected", so Harbin Aircraft is increasing the thrust of the Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, says Liang.

    Improved aerodynamics will be achieved by having a retractable landing gear, he says.

    For those interested in aeroplane pictures with specs at bottom:-
    (courtesy of Igor, which sounds like a Russian name to me)

    1. The Y12F looks like a nice aircraft.. Having flown on the "old" Y12 many times with Fiji Airways and Airlines Tonga, I can see why the "F" improvements are required.

  2. Suddenly Convair