Tonga to replace troubled MA60 plane

Tonga to replace troubled MA60 plane

Tonga to replace troubled MA60 plane

Updated 18 June 2014, 14:05 AEST
Real Tonga Airlines has purchased two Jetstream 32 aeroplanes and will cease to fly its troubled MA60, according to the general manager of the Tongan Tourism Authority. At least one plane is due to arrive as early as next week. 
 
Many Tongan's will be glad to see the back of the MA60 which has brought nothing but trouble to tourism and the economy of Tonga. 
 
New Zealand has a travel advisory in place, warning potential tourists about the Chinese aircraft that flies between the main island of Tongatapu and Vava'u. 
 
Mr Stuart Perry, the head of Tonga's Tourism Authority says the NZ tourism advisory on the MA-60 had a real dollar impact on many of the small business operators, particularly in Tonga's outlying areas. Islands in the Vava'u group "have been devastated by the impact of this travel advisory. I was up there only a couple of weeks ago and nearly every second shop in the town is closed and there's a real concern amongst the operators there", according to Mr Perry. 
 
Speaking to Radio Australia Mr Perry said the CEO of Real Tonga has purchased the Jetstream 32 aeroplanes from Australia and was due to sign the documentation today. The Jetstream 32's have "an excellent track record and more importantly, are recognised as airworthy by New Zealand civil aviation", he told Radio Australia's Phil Kafcaloudes. 
 
Presenter: Phil Kafcaloudes
Speaker: Stuart Perry, General Manager - Tonga Tourism Authority

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