10 Jun 2004

NZ airline flies between Tonga's islands

10:48 am on 10 June 2004

A New Zealand operator has started domestic air services in Tonga, filling the void left by the demise of the Kingdom's flag carrier.

The Secretary of Civil Aviation in Tonga, Ahovaleamoemapa Faletau, says Pion Air has joined forces with a Tongan agent to form an operation called Air Waves of Vava'u.

Mr Faletau says the operator started services yesterday with flights to the Ha'apai island group.

"They have completed the safety assessment that was conducted by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, on behalf of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and were issued with the appropriate operating approvals to commence services."

The processing of an application to carry out domestic services from a local airline called Fly Niu is in its final stages.