'Atu Finau (R - right), Deputy Prime Minister Vuna Fā'otusia. Photo/Supplied

Fly Niu CEO ‘Atu Fīnau says he expects the airline to be flying in Tonga by December.

He told Kaniva news the government was expecting him to submit his airline license application as soon as he could.

Fīnau, who met with the Deputy Prime Minister in Tonga last week, said the airline would need three months to prepare  for operations.

The CEO said he had been told Lord Tu’ivikano’s government removed the kingdom’s one airline policy.

Last month Kaniva news named Fly Niu and Tonga Airways as airlines that were interested in providing a second airline to service ‘Eua, Ha’apai, Vava’u and the Niuas

Earlier this year the Fly Niu authorities in New Zealand said they were disappointed after their submission for a partnership agreement with the Tongan government to operate international flights between Tonga and Auckland was knocked back by the former cabinet.

Last November Fīnau said he had talked to the Prime Minister in Auckland about starting a service between Tonga and Auckland.

Fly Niu  was forced out of Tonga 15 years ago when  the government passed a one airline policy that gave the sole right to operate domestic flights to Peau Vava’u, an airline, co-owned by the Late King George Tupou V and his business partners, the Ramanlal brothers.

 It replaced the bankrupt Royal Tongan Airlines.

In 2016, the government declined an application by Tonga Airways to operate.

The company planned to lease aircraft from Fiji Airways. 

The then Minister of Civil Aviation, Semisi Sika, cited a report by the World Bank which said only one airline could survive financially serving Tonga’s domestic market.

The main points

  • Fly Niu CEO ‘Atu Finau said he expected the airline to be flying in Tonga by December.
  • Finau told Kaniva news the government was expecting him to submit his airline license application as soon as he could.

For more information

Second airline to service outer islands in bid to reduce ‘costly airfares,’ PM Tu‘ionetoa says

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