3 Jun 2014

NZ aviation commentator sceptical of Tonga plane validation

1:12 pm on 3 June 2014

A New Zealand aviation commentator says any efforts by Tonga to prove it has properly certified a new plane gifted by China won't convince him that the plane is safe.

Peter Clark initially warned the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, that Tonga was using a plane that wasn't certified by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority, and prompted New Zealand to issue a travel advisory.

A World Bank report has concluded there is not enough evidence that Tonga properly validated the plane, but Tongan authorities say they were never approached by the World Bank to show their evidence.

Mr Clark says no western country flies the Chinese MA60 plane and that is a sign that New Zealand shouldn't trust it.

"You will not see this aircraft flying in US airspace, you will not find it flying in European airspace, you will not find it anywhere where there is a recognised system of certification of this aircraft. Tonga follow the paperwork of other countries and they seem to, in this situation, have made up a lot of the rules."

Peter Clark, a New Zealand aviation commentator