This blog started off by focussing on NZ's smaller 3rd level airlines, past and present. It has evolved to trying to present some record of NZ's domestic airline operations and some of the larger charter operators, interesting NZ international airliner movements and photos I have taken around the country. Comments, corrections or contributions are welcome, Steve - firstname.lastname@example.org
12 December 2015
MA60 about to fly again
Real Tonga wins bid for MA60 operation
Although Real Tonga Airline has won a bid last month to operate Government's MA60 aircraft, gifted from China, its operation will remain on hold until Government completes the aircraft's certification due process. Tonga's domestic carrier won the bid against two other airlines, including one affiliated with former Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu and another that was disqualified. Real Tonga operated the aircraft in the past until Government terminated its lease with the airline, after adopting the New Zealand Civil Aviation rules in February and grounding the 56 -seater MA60 aircraft. Real Tonga CEO Tevita Palu said today the operating conditions required that Government must complete all requirements, including safety certification of the aircraft by the International Civil Aviation Organization, among others, before it is handed over to them to operate. "For us the main work is the crew and staff, which we had to downsize and lay off when the MA60 was returned to Government. I will now have to re-hire and do the training again," he said. It is expected that a team from China will be in Tonga next week for the certification process, including PASO. Tevita said he hopes that Government will have a clear mandate and direction regarding Tonga's airline industry. "The domestic market is small and we are barely covering our costs as it is, but for further growth we need clear directions from Government in regards to the air service." He said Real Tonga h4d this week started its own regional operation using a Fiji Airways 68-seater aircraft to fly Fiji-Tangatapu-Vava'u three times a week until January, 2016. Real Tonga currently operates the domestic market with four aircrafts.