26 May 2004

People in Tonga's Vava'u group call for action over airline

1:56 pm on 26 May 2004

People in Tonga's northern Vava'u group of islands say the government needs to take action quickly over vital domestic air links which were suddenly severed.

Royal Tongan Airlines recently suspended its domestic services and there's no indication as to when, or if, they will be resumed, leaving Vava'u dependent on twice weekly ferries.

One such ferry has just run aground in the Ha'apai group, on its way to Vava'u.

The Vava'u people's representative, Trevor Guttenbeil, says they plan to present a petition to parliament.

"It has had a lot of impact on everybody, particularly in the tourism industry. So, at the moment, we are trying to, first of all, get to Nuku'alofa to try and seek ways of speeding up the process of hopefully getting an airline to fly."

Trevor Guttenbeil says he will travel to Nuku'alofa with Vava'u governor Akau'ola.