China gives MA60 aircraft to Tonga

Tonga's government celebrated the gift of a new MA60 aircraft from China at a handover ceremony attended by King Tupou VI at Tongatapu's Fua'amotu Domestic Airport on Saturday July 6.
"The aircraft is safe," said Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu, who sought the aircraft from China.
In an emotional speech he said that it was the first of its type in the region but, "It is sad that the United States even New Zealand have not accepted this aircraft."
"It has Bretton Whitney engines, its aviontics are Honeywell and other famous brands with avaionics on aircraft. This is a brand new aircraft donated by the People's Republic of China. The cost of the aircraft is about USD$15 million and the cost of parts to sustain service is between USD$ 13-14 million. In Tongan dollars, this grant from the PRC is over T$50 million pa'anga and it's, what we say, a grant and we have nothing to pay back.
"I am happy to announce the pilots who delivered the aircraft here are US pilots licensed and registered in the US," Hon. Vaipulu said.
The Tongan government as the owner of the aircraft has to insure it and, "we have a few things to do before we start the service to our people."
Hon Vaipulu said he dreamed of acquiring more planes. "Currently, there are talks, negotiations on getting two more Y12 aircraft to service the Niuas and 'Eua and also to help Tonga Defence Service on surveillance of our waters. … and I am sure Tonga would use jets domestically in the very near future."
New high
The Ambassador of China to Tonga HE Mr Wang Donghua said that the early arrival of the MA60 aircraft on July 4 coincided with the celebration of the official birthday of King Tupou VI. In handing over the new aircraft to Tonga's Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano, he said it was, "a new opportunity to bring our friendly relationship and cooperation to a new high."
"Today is a historic day in Tonga's civil aviation history, because from now on Tonga can operate its own domestic airline using its own aircraft, and today is also a very important day for the bilateral relations…as the MA60 aircraft symbolizes a new fruit yielded by the cooperation of mutual benefit between our two countries."
He said the aircraft was initially expected to arrive on November 2, 2013, for the celebration of the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Tonga, but the need for the aircraft had become urgent.
"Considering the need on ground, the Chinese side made a special earlier delivery," he said. "The aircraft will soon be put into operation and Chinese experts and technicians will work closely with Tongans."
The ambassador spoke of a potential for job creation and profit generation in other countries from Chinese mobility. "Chinese tourists travelling overseas will reach 100 million by 2015," he said.
"Chinese enterprises are seeking trade and investment opportunities in other countries. For instance, some Chinese business people came to Tonga in the first half of this year to explore areas of common interest…Now many countries hae started to eye the growing market in China and the opportunities China is creating for the rest of the world. …Tonga has its own unique resources and holds great potential for development in the fields of agriculture, fisheries and tourism, among others," he said.
Mr Zhang Guangjian, Vice-chairman AVIC International, said that in December 2011 the Deputy Prime Minister Vaipulu had visited China to experience the aircraft for himself and had expressed strong interest and willing to introduce MA 60 to Tonga.
"We will sent a pilot instructor to Tonga to assist Real Tonga and a field service team to provide parts and consultancy," he said.
The aircraft will be operated by a recently formed airline Real Tonga on Tonga's domestic inter-island service.
The King went on a short flight with VIPs at the launching.

Source: Wantangi Tonga Online

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Business Pacific


Sports News