3 Oct 2005

New airline wants to fly Auckland-Nuku'alofa by Christmas

8:42 pm on 3 October 2005

A planned new Tongan airline, Air Tonga, will be pitching for travellers to and from New Zealand.

Engineer Chris Kava says he has been quietly working out how to start an airline since the government owned Royal Tongan Airlines folded last year.

He says he needs a million US dollars to kickstart the venture and hopes he can raise this money in Tonga.

Mr Kava hopes to lease an Airbus 320 which will mostly fly between Auckland and Nuku'alofa.

"It's been the problem for Tongans to travel to New Zealand with airfares being overpriced with operators operating in Tonga. I don't think the government would consider an international airline for a long time."

Chris Kava is hoping he can raise the funds and get licenses in time to benefit from the Christmas market.