22 Oct 2014

Tonga's domestic carrier defends standards

3:38 pm on 22 October 2014

The head of Tonga's domestic airline says he was relieved to hear it would not be replaced.

Matangi Tonga had reported that the government would revoke Real Tonga's licence and bring in a New Zealand carrier until the airline updated its certification in line with New Zealand standards.

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Photo: RNZ

But earlier this month, the Tongan government announced it would not revoke the licence and to ensure safety, the regulatory framework will be developed in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

New Zealand recently watered down its travel warning after it said Tonga had made progress.

The CEO of Real Tonga, Tevita Palu, says the plane at the centre of the controversy, the MA-60, is still in service and flying well.

"The aircraft is operating every day, normally. There is no disruption for the MA-60 operation. I am told the MA-60 will continue to operate, this is from the government."