3 Jun 2014

Tonga MA60 plane report backtrack

4:26 pm on 3 June 2014

The World Bank is set to backtrack on a draft report recommending Tonga ground its new MA60 aircraft gifted by China..

The report was sent to Tonga last month and said there was nothing to prove that Tonga had properly validated the plane.

But Tongan authorities disagreed and said the Bank had not approached them to see their paperwork.

The Chinese manufacturer, AVIC, strongly criticised the report and the World Bank is now set to withdraw the references to the MA60.

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Photo: files

The decision comes after a New Zealand aircraft inspector, Peter Williams, reviewed the plane and the validation process at the weekend.

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, has maintained a travel advisory over the plane.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, is currently in Tonga and meeting today with the deputy Prime Minister, Samiu Vaipulu, who has been locked in a debate with Mr McCully over the plane's certification and safety.