27 April 2020

ZK-AWP with Peau Vava'u Air

Continuing on with ZK-AWP's 75th birthday the following is some of Peau Vava'u Air's history taken from its old website...

Peau Vava'u's office opened for operations on the 27th May 2004, with Chairman of the Board HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a and Director Mr Joseph Ramanlal. Secretary to the board is Mr Soane Ramanlal who is also the CEO of Shoreline Companies Limited.

The first flight took place on the 9th of June 2004, starting with a DC3 leased from Pionair Adventure Ltd (Christchurch, New Zealand). Pionair Adventures Ltd acquired an FAOC (Foreign Air Operator Certificate) to operate the DC3.

The Government of Tonga sought a single airline for the Kingdom, and Peau Vava'u Limited (PVL) successfully applied to be the single airline operator, which began on the 10th of September 2004.

A second DC3 arrived by Christmas 2004, when Peau Vava'u purchased both DC3s from Pionair Adventures Limited. At this time PVL sought to upgrade its fleet, and negotiations began with Reef Air NZ, and Convair operations commenced, flying to Vava'u and Ha'apai from the 3rd of May 2005. The Convair is owned by Air Chatham of New Zealand, which Reef Air leases, and Peau Vava'u Limited subleases.

In November 2004 PVL sought to include flying to the Niuas (Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'ou) and operations were pending approval. However by the end of June 2005 the DC3s operations discontinued and the Pionair service contact ended in 2005. This included the return of one DC3.

Peau Vava'u contributes to Tonga through sponsorship and the support of community and charity organisations. In October this year (2005), free tickets were given to: the Red Cross, the Fiji Day Celebrations in Ha'apai, Rotary Club Children's Fun Fair, and the Pacific Timber and Hardware promotional night. November saw free tickets being given to the Tonga Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and in December, a Tongatapu-Vava'u return ticket was given to the Face of Tonga beauty pageant for the first runner-up. In sponsored fares alone, Peau Vava`u has supplied over T$12,000 in air travel.

Additionally, Peau Vava'u promotes development in Tonga and offers "famils" (familiarisations) by offering free travel. Famils have been offered to travel wholesalers from New Zealand such as Infinity (10 tickets) and airlines such as Pacific Blue (7 tickets).

In the future, Peau Vava'u will be adding flights to 'Eua, as well as Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'ou. New aircraft will also be added to the Peau Vava'u fleet.

Flights were temporarily suspended in November 2006 when their corporate headquarters were destroyed by a fire during riots in Nuku'alofa. Peau Vava’u never flew again and its license was eventually revoked.

The two DC-3s, ZK-AMY and ZK-AWP at Fua'motu Airport ,Tonga in 2004

And three shots of ZK-AWP in action in Tonga

A big thanks to Harry Follas for allowing me to use these photos from his collection

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