11 Jun 2015

New aircraft to service Tonga's peak season

3:33 pm on 11 June 2015

A new aircraft has been brought in by Tonga's sole domestic carrier to service the outer islands as the peak season gets underway.

Real Tonga Airlines now has three small aircraft, a 17 seat Y12, and two 19 seat Jetstreams, with the new Jetstream arriving in Tonga last week.

The Real Tonga Airline CEO, Tevita Palu, says currently there are four flights a day to Vava'u, three to Ha'apai, and one to 'Eua, but that will increase during peak season.

The airline also has a partnership with Fiji Airways to fly a 68 seater aircraft, which Mr Palu says has helped service a good growth in demand over the past year.

"Tour operators and accommodation operators had some issues in the past, but I think they're fairly happy with the frequency. With the availability of the Jetstream, we offer more flights, meaning better connections with international flights, and also the frequency for the local frequent travellers, especially the business people."

The company had previously been operating the controversial China-gifted MA60 aircraft, but the government terminated its lease arrangement with Real Tonga earlier this year.

It's expected a proposed new domestic airline, Royal Tonga Airlines, will fly the MA60, but it is not currently in operation.

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