Tongan airline operator says NZ’s travel advisory unfair

The general manager of Tonga airline, Real Tonga, says it is unfair that New Zealand is cautioning travellers because it is unhappy with one aircraft operating in the country.
Last month, the New Zealand government suspended eight million US dollars in tourism aid to Tonga amid safety concerns with the MA-60 aircraft gifted from China.
It has now updated its travel advisory for Tonga, saying people using the MA-60 do so at their own risk.
Tevita Palu says the MA-60 made its first three commercial flights to Vava’u on Saturday and will fly twice a day to the island group.
Mr Palu says the flights were full, and ran smoothly.
He says the aircraft was certified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and is safe.
“It’s really not fair on the tourism industry in Tonga that they issue that warning based on one type of aircraft. They should let people know there are other types of aircraft people can fly on if they feel the MA-60 is not safe.”
Tevita Palu says Real Tonga will not stop flying the MA-60 to get the tourism funding restored.


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