19 Apr 2013

Northern Tonga to get weekly flights restored from next week

8:11 am on 19 April 2013

The most remote islands of Tonga will be serviced by weekly flights starting from next week.

Tonga's new domestic airline Real Tonga has introduced two small aircraft dedicated to Niuafao'ou and Niuatoputapu.

The Chief Executive of Real Tonga Tevita Palu says the aircraft were leased from New Zealand carrier Air Chathams, which ceased its Chathams Pacific operations in Tonga in March.

Mr Palu says the remote islands have not been serviced for the past six weeks, but flights to Niuatoputapu will begin on Wednesday and flights to Niuafao'ou will start the following week.

Tevita Palu says the airline's main challenge is to prepare for the peak tourism season, which begins in June.

"We understand we don't have the capacity at this time but we are working on that. That's about our main challenge now, is to provide the capacity required."

Tevita Palu says the arrival of the new planes also means other routes such as 'Eua and Vava'u can be serviced more regularly, to meet demand.