28 May 2010

Tonga's domestic airline still grounded

1:06 pm on 28 May 2010

Tonga's domestic airline remains grounded as it prepares for a meeting with the authorities over an emergency landing earlier this week.

The pilot of a Chathams Pacific eight-seater aircraft had to touch down without a nose wheel after it collapsed on landing at Fua'amotu International Airport on Wednesday.

The general manager says about 20 flights over the weekend have had to be cancelled, affecting about 200 passengers.

Noel Gillespie says an inquiry into the incident is underway and he hopes the authorities will permit flights to resume after Monday's meeting.

"The Tongans really don't have the expertise to be able to determine really what the appropriate action or how large the problem is so they I guess want some reassureance or comfort on that so they're bringing in experts to have a look at it. I guess this sort of incident had it occurred in New Zealand, we would have continued to operate."

Chathams Pacific's general manager, Noel Gillespie.