Real Tonga denies claims MA60 aircraft's license cancelled

    The Real Tonga Airline controversial MA60 aircraft operates as normal amid reports its license expired and cancelled on January 20, 2015, the company has confirmed.

    The Director of the Airline, Tēvita Palu told Kaniva News today, reports by local media quoting the Minister of Infrastructure as saying the MA60’s license expired on January 20, 2015 was “not true”.

    He said the aircraft is operating “as normal everyday” from Tongatapu to Vava’u.

    Infrastructure minister, Hon. ‘Etutate Lavulavu was also quoted by a local newspaper as saying his ministry was working on the licensing of the plane urgently because the Chinese Embassy wrote and requested the Tongan government  not  to terminate the aircraft’s license to operate in the kingdom.

    The paper also quoted the minister as saying there was a problem with processing of the renewal of the MA60’s license as Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) has warned the license given to  the aircraft did not meet all necessary legal requirements expected by the international aviation authorities.

    The aircraft was given to Tonga by the Chinese government as a gift in 2012.

    We were unable to obtain comments from the Chinese Embassy.

    When we called and spoke with Hon. Lavulavu today he asked to call him back in 1-2hours as he was in a meeting in Vava’u. When we called him for the second time the minister’s phone was answered by another man. He told us the minister was in a meeting. We sent Hon. Lavulavu a text message asking for comments but he did not return it in time for publication.

    The Chinese made aircraft involved in a number of fatal incidents recently. In May 2011 an MA60 went into sea only 500 metres from the runway in Kaimana Airport in Indonesia. All passengers and crew were killed.

    New Zealand authority said the Chinese-built MA60 was not certified to fly in New Zealand and was not certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency, the US Federal Aviation Administration or the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

    New Zealand withheld more than $10 million aid for Tonga’s Tourism industry because of concerns over the aircraft.

    In September 2014 , the former Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano vowed to ground the Chinese made aircraft after he received a letter from the International Civil Aviation Organisation warning his government about how the MA60’s license was processed. It was later revealed the MA 60 continued to operate after a number of meetings between its manegements and the former government.

    The airline authority as well as the former Tongan government’s Minister of Infrastructure, who was instrumental in brining the plane to Tonga, insisted the MA60 aircraft was safe to operate in the kingdom.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Kuo fakapapau’i mai ‘e he Kautaha Vakapuna Tonga Airline ‘oku kei faifatongia pe ‘ene vakapuna kuo faʻa fai hono fehu’ia ko ia ko e MA60 lolotonga kuo ʻi ai e ngaahi lipooti ‘o pehē kuo ʻosi e taimi ʻene laisení pea kuo kaniseli ʻi Sanuali ʻaho 20, 2015.

      Pehē ʻe he Talēkita ʻo e Kautaha Vakapuná, Tēvita Palu ki he Kanivá ʻoku ʻikai moʻoni e lipooti ʻa ha nusipepa fakalotofonua ʻoku ʻasi ai ha lau ʻa e ʻEiki Minisitā ki he ʻInifalakisaá pe Ngaahi Langa Lalahi ʻa e Puleʻangá kuo ʻosi e taimi e laiseni ʻa e MA60 ʻi he taimi 12 tuʻuapō ʻo e ʻaho 20 ʻo Sānuali 2015.

      Naʻe pehē ʻe Palu ʻoku kei puna angamaheni pe ʻa e vakapuna he ʻaho kotoa mei Tongatapu ki Vavaʻu.

      ʻI ha līpooti ʻa ha nusipepa lōkolo ʻi Tonga ʻoku ʻasi ai ha lau ʻa e minisitā ki he ʻInifalakisaá, ʻOnapolo ʻEtuate Lavulavu ʻo pehē kuo ʻosi e taimi ʻo e laiseni ʻo e vakapuna ni ʻi he taimi 12 tuʻuapō ʻaho 20 Sanuali 2015 ka kuo fai e ngāue fakavave ki ai he ne ʻi ai e tohi kole mei he ʻEmipasī ʻa Siaina ʻi Tongá kau ki heʻenau fakaʻamu ke ʻoua ʻe fakangata e laiseni ʻa e vakapuná.

      Ne ʻikai ke mau lava maʻu ha fakamatala mei he ʻAmipasitoa Siaina ʻi Tongá.

      Ne pehē ʻe Lavulavu ko e ʻisiu hení he ne ʻi ai e fakahā mei he sino pule ʻi he Pasifiki ki he folau vakapuna sivilé pe ʻoku ʻiloa fakanounou ko e PASO ʻo pehē ne ʻikai fakalao e founga ia ne laiseniʻaki ʻa e vakapuna MA60.

      Ko e vakapuna foki ʻeni ne meʻaʻofaʻaki ʻe Siaina ki he Puleʻanga Tongá ʻi he 2012.

      Ko e taimi ne mau fetuʻutaki ai ʻo maʻu ʻa Lavulavu he pongipongi ʻo e ʻaho ní ne ne fakahā mai ke mau toki tā ange ʻi ha ʻosi ha houa ʻe 1 – 2 he ʻoku lolotonga ʻi he fakataha ʻi Vavaʻu.

      ʻI he taimi ne mau toe tā atu aí ne tali mai ia ‘e he tangata kehe ‘o ne pehe ʻoku kei ‘i ha fakataha ‘a Lavulavu. Ne mau ʻoatu ai ha fekau ʻi he telefoni toʻotoʻó ʻo kole ange ki he minisitaa ke ʻomai muʻa haʻane lau ki he kaveinga ko ʻení ka naʻe ʻikai maʻu mai ia he taimi ne fiemaʻu ai ke pulusi e ongoongó ni.

      Ko e vakapuna ko ʻeni kuo lahi ha ngaahi toki fakatuʻutāmaki fakatau ki he mate ne hoko tonu ai. ʻI Mē 2011 naʻe tūʻulu atu ai ki tahi ha vakapuna MA60 mita pe ʻeni ʻe 500 mei he leleʻanga vakapuna ʻi he Malaʻevakapuna Kaimaná ʻi ʻInitōnesia.

      Naʻe mate kotoa ʻa e kau kulū ʻo e vaká ni fakataha mo e kau pāsesé.

      Naʻe puke tuʻu ʻe Nuʻu Sila ʻe nau tokoni paʻanga ʻe 10 miliona ki he Takimamata ʻa Tongá koeʻuhī ko ʻenau hohaʻa ki he vakapuná ni.

      ʻI Sepitema 2014 naʻe tukupā ai e Palēmia ʻo e puleʻanga ki muʻá te ne taʻofi ke ʻoua toe puna ʻa e vaká ni hili ia haʻane maʻu ha tohi mei he sino fakavahaʻapuleʻanga ʻoku ne tokangaʻi e fepunaʻaki fakavahaʻapuleʻangá ʻo tuku mai ʻene hohaʻa ki he founga ne foakiʻaki e laiseni ʻa e MA60.

      Naʻe toki fakahā ki mui ai ne hokohoko atu pe puna ia ʻa e vakapuná ni hili ia ha toutou fakataha ʻa e puleʻanga ko iá mo e kau maʻu mafai ʻo e kautaha vakapuná.

      Ne kei kikihi pe foki ʻa e kau maʻumafai ʻo e kautaha vakapuná ia fakataha mo e minisitā ʻo e ʻInifalakisaá ʻo e ʻaho koi á ʻoku malu pe vakapuna MA60 ke puna ʻi Tonga.

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