14 April 2015

ATR replacing MA60 in Tonga

Tonga's sole domestic carrier Real Tonga today added extra weekly flights to Vava'u on a chartered aircraft from Fiji Airways as demand for the season increases. The airline said the 68-seater ATR72-600 was introduced to provide not only added capacity but a replacement for the Chinese gifted MA60-aircraft that Government took back when it terminated its lease with the airline in February this year. In announcing the new aircraft today, CEO Tevita Palu said that since the termination of the MA60 lease their customers had not received the best service available because they were limited to just two aircraft. "The sudden unavailability of the MA60 aircraft meant that we had to urgently re-adjust our fleet and while we are grateful that this happened during the lower demand period we regret the inconvenience. The additional aircraft and services will provide a much more stable and reliable schedule." He said the ATR72-600 is a great option because it provides them with an opportunity to evaluate the aircraft's operation with a view to providing regional services in the near future. The aircraft will service Vava'u twice a week on Mondays and Fridays throughout April and May. In addition, a second Jetstream 32 is expected to arrive in Tonga soon. He said the Jetstream's arrival was delayed because they opted to put the aircraft through major maintenance in New Zealand before bringing it to Tonga. "This will provide us with an aircraft with no heavy maintenance requirement for at least a year," he said. "With the ATR and second Jetstream, Real Tonga will have a solid fleet that will be able to effectively and efficiently manage our domestic network." 

Source : Matangi Tonga

1 comment:

  1. MA60 to fly for new “Royal Tongan Airlines”
    Tonga’s domestic MA60 aircraft gifted from China is expected to start flying domestically this month operated by a second carrier named “Royal Tongan Airlines”.

    Samiu Vaipulu, the airline’s Board Director and former Deputy Prime Minister, said today the aircraft would first service only Vava’u and Ha’apai.

    He said other plans are being discussed for a smaller aircraft to service the outer islands of ‘Eua and the two Niuas.

    “In three months time we are also planning to start flying regionally using the MA60 aircraft. We have Tongan and foreign pilots ready to fly,” said Samiu.

    The new company, which is said to have been set up by a group of shareholders, has an office at the Sanft Building in Nuku’alofa employing more than 10 staff.

    In late February this year, the airline signed a contract with the Government of Tonga to lease the MA60.

    This was after government took back the aircraft after terminating its lease arrangement with the current sole domestic carrier, Real Tonga.

    (Source: Matangi Tonga 08 April 2015)