Two aircrafts from China to Tonga bitterly ends Chatham Pacific Services

The controversial purchasing of 2 aircrafts from China by the Tonga Government will bitterly end Chatham Pacific domestic air services in the Island Kingdom in March this year.

The domestic airline company according to reports was not satisfied with how they was treated by the Tongan government leaving them in the dark to only find  it out  from  media that two new aircrafts it purchased from China will arrive in June to compete with them.

The 17 seaters Y-12 and MA-60 with 52 passenger seats worth US$20 Million.

New Zealand-owned Chathams Pacific Airline has five aircrafts and is currently the only domestic carrier in the kingdom.

The company's general manager Craig Gillespie said today that he has informed the Tonga government that Chatham will no longer service the kingdom after March 2.

"I have now lost business confidence in Tonga due to the Government's attitude towards my airline and I won't continue providing the domestic air services,” New Zealand Craig Emeny, said in a letter to the government.

The  purchase was highly criticized in the social media networks following a debate in the parliament of Tonga last year when Peopleʻs Representative  for Tongatapu 5 PR ʻAisake Eke questioned the Minister for Finance, Hon Lisiate ʻAkolo for not including the purchase in his budget 2012/2013.

In his response Hon ʻAkolo said that it was not in the budget because it is a grant from China.

That did not corroborate with the state funded Radio Tonga report  after the signing of the agreement between the government and representatives from China stating –  a purchase agreement was also signed by the Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu, where China pays one third of the total cost of the plane.

Peopleʻs Parliament Representatives believe that had it not been raised in Parliament by PR. Eke the processing of the purchase was not made public,  a deliberate move by the government fearing the opposition that they might  have raised with them  their bad reputation for failed aircraft ventures in the past that cost Tongan taxpayers Milions of dollars including the failed Royal Tongan Airline in 2004.

Top Tongan qualified in aircraft engineering anonymously told Kaniva news that the governmentʻs new adventure to buy the two new aircrafts is a complete waste of money and it wonʻt take longer than two years before it will collapse.

He reminded that Air Fiji, in a country that has a much better economy and tourism industries than Tonga,  went into bankruptcy in 2009 after a failed operation that included a MA60 leased from China.

The maintenance and upkeep  required for such aircraft needs a lot of money.

An MA60 crashed in Indonesia killing all 27 people aboard in May 2011.

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