3 Apr 2016

Air NZ boosts capacity and services to Tonga

1:02 pm on 3 April 2016

Air capacity into Tonga has increased with Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-200 touching down in the kingdom for the first time on Friday, signalling the start a weekly service.

Matangi Tonga reports the 312 seat aircraft will fly the Nuku'alofa-Auckland route increasing seat capacity by 33 percent as well as cargo uplift close to 40 percent.

Previously the route had been serviced by the Boeing 767-300.

The death aged 63 of the monacle-wearing king, who had a penchant for flamboyant military uniforms and driving around in a London taxi, had engulfed the country in a "black stormcloud".

Tonga's Fua'amotu International Airport. Photo: AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

Air NZ Chief Sales and Commercial Officer Cam Wallace said the introduction of the aircraft was good news for both customers and exporters.

Mr Wallace said as well as increasing seat capacity, Air NZ is also able to enhance the in-flight experience by introducing products like Business Premier, Premium Economy and the Economy Skycouch on the route for the first time.

Air NZ currently operates six services per week between Nuku'alofa and Auckland, five by the 168-seat Airbus A320 aircraft, while the sixth is now operated by the Boeing 777-200.

The service comes after a major upgrade of facilities was initiated in Tonga with approximately US$28m worth of World Bank funding.