19 May 2004

Tonga calls for bids to offer domestic air service

4:36 pm on 19 May 2004

Tonga's Ministry of Civil Aviation is calling for parties interested in operating a domestic air service to attend a Open Day next month in Nuku'Alofa.

It follows the grounding of the domestic service of Royal Tonga Airlines amid reports it is waiting on key parts for which it has no funding.

In a statement the airline says it has been plunged into debt by the collapse last month of the international service.

The airline says it needs a substantial capital injection.

The government announced earlier this week that the international service was now officially shut down and pro democracy Akilisi Pohiva says the Finance Minister has said the domestic service could go the same way without outside investment.

"I think the government is now considering the possibility of officially closing down the local flight and looking for a possibility of re-opening again in the future but I think the government needs some people in contributing to the opening of our local flight. Government i still working in that."