11 June 2014

Real Tonga Scraps MA60

The general manager of the Tongan Tourism Authority, Stuart Perry, says Real Tonga Airlines has purchased two Jetstream 32 aeroplanes and will cease to fly its troubled MA60 which was gifted by China. At least one plane is due to arrive as early as next week. New Zealand has a travel advisory in place, warning potential tourists about the Chinese aircraft that flies between the main island of Tongatapu and Vava'u. Mr Perry says the NZ advisory on the MA60 had a real dollar impact on many of the small business operators, particularly in Tonga's outlying areas. He told Radio Australia the Vava'u group have been devastated by the impact of this travel advisory. Mr Perry said the CEO of Real Tonga has purchased the Jetstream 32 aeroplanes from Australia. He added the Jetstream 32's have an excellent track record and more importantly, are recognised as airworthy by New Zealand civil aviation.


  1. Slightly different take
    “These two new aircraft that Real Tonga have purchased are additional to the fleet,”


  2. They are also looking at extending the runway at Ha'apai.

    "Samiu Vaipulu told Radio Tonga the reconstruction was one of the issues discussed in his recent talks in Beijing.
    He says the re-construction of Pilolevu Airport includes an extension of the terminal and the runway to enable the connecting flights between Ha'apai and Niue."

    The runway is already big enough to cater for smaller planes. A previous reason for the runway being extended was to make it a closer alternate airport for the ma60.
    Maybe they want to fly the ma60 to Niue as well!


    1. Previous news article on extending the airport.

      "Nuku’alofa-March 12: 4.30pm (RTVT/TDN): The government of the People’s Republic of China has agreed to fund the $5.4 million construction work to expand the Salote Pilolevu Airport in Ha’apai.
      Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu confirmed this today.
      He said the runway at the Salote Pilolevu Airport will be extended by 200 meters, with an additional 20 meters expansion towards the sea.
      He says this is part of government’s precautionary measure in case of any emergency.
      The construction work will be carried out towards the Western side of the airport and will include the construction of the parking lot.
      Other maintenance work will be carried out to the runway, by filling it with tar.
      Hon Vaipulu said one of the recommendation submitted under the project proposal for the Pilolevu Airport was to make the airport an alternative airport for Lupepau’u’s Airpot in Vava’u, if a special travelling route is needed, without landing at Fua’amotu Airport.
      The project is expected to start sometime this year."


  3. The MA60 is not scrapped. It is still flying and the '32s are additional capacity.

    “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.

    Mr Palu said the aircrafts are not going to replace the MA 60 gifted to Tonga by China."


  4. This article is misleading. Have just check what aircraft we will be flying on for 14th of August to Vava'u. It's the MA60. Verbatim from Real Tonga Airlines.