28 May 2004

Tonga doubts airline launch in June

1:26 pm on 28 May 2004

The Secretary of Civil Aviation in Tonga says a new company could struggle to launch services as planned because it still needs to make changes to its operators certificate.

Earlier this week a company called Air Waves of Vava'u announced it was to launch domestic services in conjunction with Pion Air of New Zealand.

However Villiami Ma'ake says the company's application to fill the void left by Royal Tongan Airline's demise has not been approved yet.

The company, which is partly owned by Crown Prince Tupouto'a, has said flights will begin on June the 9th.

But Mr Ma'ake says that would be outside the time the certification procedure normally takes.

"For a new company to go through certification it normally takes a year, but because these are exisiting companies and it's only an amendment to what they already have it's much, much quicker. If they have everything in place it can be a month."

The Secretary of Civil Aviation in Tonga, Villiami Ma'ake.