10 May 2014

Tonga says it followed all protocols over plane

7:42 am on 10 May 2014

The Tongan deputy prime minister says he properly certified a controversial plane gifted by China, and can prove it.

The MA-60 plane prompted a safety warning on the New Zealand government travel website and a suspension of tourism aid to Tonga, which will stay in place until the World Bank review of Tonga's transport industry is complete, and its recommendations followed.

Mr Vaipulu, who says the World Bank didn't meet with him before writing its report, says he met with the International Civil Aviation Organisation last year to confirm Tonga had properly certified the plane.

He says Tonga's agreement with China on air safety led him to ground the MA-60 in March after an accident in China in February.

"We got it certified from China, that's the ICAO rules we use, and we had an agreement with China to use their air worthiness and we grounded our MA-60 and we did all the checks that was needed."

The Tongan deputy prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu.