6 May 2014

World Bank review of Tonga's transport industry

7:53 pm on 6 May 2014

The Tongan deputy prime minister is still confident a controversial plane gifted by China will survive an industry-wide review by the World Bank.

In March, the Tongan Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano and the New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, announced the transport sector safety review.

The MA-60 aircraft, that sparked a dilplomatic row between Mr McCully and the deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu, would also be included in the review.

Samiu Vaipulu denied rumours the report was already with the Tongan government, and says World Bank managers in Canberra are finalising their draft report.

He says he has not heard from the International Civil Aviation Authority, whose rules he says were followed in the certification of the aircraft when it was gifted to the country by China in 2012.

New Zealand says the plane wasn't certified correctly and is maintaining a travel advisory on its website until the review is complete.