26 April 2016

Saab for Real Tonga

At around 1240 today (Press Release dated 21 April 2016), Real Tonga’s latest addition to its fleet, a SAAB 340 B+ WT, arrived into Fua’amotu airport from Canberra. The aircraft has 34 leather seats and this particular model has extended Wing Tips, which provide additional payload and improved overall performance. Real Tonga have indicated that they hope to see the aircraft start commercial operations in early May 2016. Currently, the airline is undergoing the required certification process to incorporate the aircraft into its current Air Operator Certificate. This certification process is being undertaken by PASO and New Zealand Civil Aviation, on behalf of Tonga’s Civil Aviation Department. The aircraft will initially be deployed solely for domestic operations from Fua’amotu to both Ha’apai and Vava’u, though Real Tonga have also revealed plans that will see the aircraft operating some regional services to Samoa and to Niue. Real Tonga’s Chief Executive, Tevita Palu said that he…”is delighted to welcome this new aircraft into the Real Tonga fleet. It will provide more capacity for continued growth in the market as well as an improved product overall. This is the first of two SAABs that we plan to bring into the fleet and apart from offering our domestic customers an improved product, I am also looking forward to re-opening connections to our neighbours in Samoa and Niue. Our airline is currently undergoing some major developments, not just in terms of fleet, but which also include an International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), which is a globally recognised safety standard under the stewardship of IATA. Following the successful completion of this audit, it is our plan to have the airline become a full member of IATA, so that we can, not only provide the highest standards to our customers, but also take advantages of the many inherent benefits of IATA membership including increased access to global sales channels. The aircraft is currently widely used in both Australia and New Zealand, which means that we will benefit from improved spares turnarounds as well as other technical support. The aircraft is on a lease agreement with Montrose Asia Pacific PTY Ltd and we are grateful to have had their support through this project and to have developed a working relationship with a company of their calibre.”

(Source: Real Tonga Press Release 21 April 2016)

I believe the Saab is ex-VH-VEF


  1. Must be a downturn in mining FIFO operations for Corporate Air. Widely used in Australia and New Zealand? Australia yes, New Zealand only has one ZK-KRA of Kiwi Regional Airlines.

  2. VH-VEF has since been re-registered A3-PAU and entered service with REAL Tonga 03/05/16.