The Kingdom of Tonga looks set to have its new domestic airline flying by March 4.  A Tongan delegation, including Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Labour, Hon. Viliami Uasike Latu has been in New Zealand reassuring travel wholesalers that Real Tonga will be operating one plane early in March with a second taking to the skies later in the month.

‘The Government is fully committed to the new airline and we want to make sure there is minimal disruption (from the recent withdrawal by Air Chathams),’ Latu says.  ‘We have received positive feedback from the New Zealand trade.’

Va’inga Palu, air transport and tourism consultant, says the new airline will be operated by Palu Aviation Services, which has been running for 10 years – mainly providing engineering services to airlines flying to and within Tonga.  These include Air New Zealand, Air Pacific and Virgin Australia.

Palu says Real Tonga will initially operate a 17 seater Y12 aircraft.  Another, similar plane will arrive three weeks later.

He says the Real Tonga website is a ‘work in progress’ but already has schedules, airfares and other basic details required by the trade.