4 Jun 2014

Tonga keeps MA60 despite NZ warning

6:38 pm on 4 June 2014

Tonga will continue to fly its new Chinese-made MA60 aircraft as a New Zealand inspector's report says the plane was correctly validated.

A draft World Bank report said the plane, gifted by China last year, wasn't validated correctly, but Tongan authorities cried foul at the draft, and said they hadn't been approached for their documentation.

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Photo: RNZ

The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says he takes safety very seriously and will maintain the travel advisory until the World Bank report is published.

The Tongan deputy prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu, says the World Bank had no authority to call for the plane to be grounded.

"We will still fly the plane, we will still fly the aircraft. They have no authority to talk about civil aviation matters."

Samiu Vaipulu says he challenged New Zealand parliamentarians visiting Tonga this week, and asked them why New Zealand doesn't issue an advisory for other countries flying the MA60.