24 Mar 2014

New flights from Fiji to Tonga to boost tourism

8:13 am on 24 March 2014

Tonga Airports Limited says there will be a boost in tourism once international flights between Fiji and Vava'u island are resumed.

Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Samiu Vaipulu, told Television Tonga that an air service agreement has been made regarding Fiji Airways flights to and from Vava'u.

The chief executive of Tonga Airports Limited, Viliami Ma'ake, says Fiji Airways, formerly known as Air Pacific, withdrew it's services about two to three years ago.

He says there was an obvious decline in visitors as a result.

"It'll basically foster tourism particularly to Vava'u. I think the main constraint to Vava'u had been the domestic link between Fua'motu and Va'vau. That has not been reliable in the past few years. But I think our connection between Fiji and Vava'u will mitigate that and boost tourism in Vava'u and Tonga as well."

Viliami Ma'ake says it's understood Fiji Airways has requested cheaper landing fees, but he says this will not be easy to do, considering domestic airports in Tonga are losing over 500 thousand US dollars a year.