11 Jun 2014

Tonga dumps MA60

6:20 am on 11 June 2014

The general manager of the Tongan Tourism Authority, Stuart Perry, says Real Tonga Airlines has purchased two Jetstream 32 aeroplanes and will cease to fly its troubled MA60 which was gifted by China.

At least one plane is due to arrive as early as next week.

New Zealand has a travel advisory in place, warning potential tourists about the Chinese aircraft that flies between the main island of Tongatapu and Vava'u.

Mr Perry says the NZ advisory on the MA60 had a real dollar impact on many of the small business operators, particularly in Tonga's outlying areas.

He told Radio Australia the Vava'u group have been devastated by the impact of this travel advisory.

Mr Perry said the CEO of Real Tonga has purchased the Jetstream 32 aeroplanes from Australia.

He added the Jetstream 32's have an excellent track record and more importantly, are recognised as airworthy by New Zealand civil aviation.