20 May 2004

Tonga to court foreign operators to run domestic air service

8:07 pm on 20 May 2004

The Secretary of Civil Aviation in Tonga says he hopes a meeting in June will allow overseas operators a chance to meet with local investors interested in filling the void left by Royal Tongan Airlines.

This week the government pulled RTA's international service and the airline's domestic service is grounded.

Last month, RTA's sole international plane was repossessed due to payment difficulties.

Ahovaleamoemapa Faletau says a number of private investors in Tonga are interested in setting up a domestic service however they do not have aviation experience.

Mr Faletau says he hopes a Open Day meeting in June will help.

"Our interest is to get an established, credible, sustainable operation up and running,.....possibly this meeting might be a forum to allow current operators, external to Tonga, that may want to, or are interested in looking into the Pacific, specifically in the domestic area being able to meet with this private sector interest."

The Secretary of Civil Aviation in Tonga, Ahovaleamoemapa Faletau.