A Real Tonga plane with more than dozen passengers and crew on board suffered engine damage when it hit a bird during take-off from the Lupepau’u International Airport this morning.
This has forced pilots to make an emergency landing.
Upon arrival at airport it was found that damage had occurred to one of the engines, Kaniva News had been reliably informed.
There were no reported injuries to anyone on board.
The aircraft was grounded for further inspection in Vava’u.
Neiafu Town Officer Vāvā Lapota told Kaniva News a while ago the incident might disrupt the Vava’u flight schedules for this week.
Real Tonga had been contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, Real Tonga is now facing financial crisis affecting airlines all over the world because of the Covid-19 pandemic and has appealed to the government for help.
Its pilots who had been laid off following a dramatic drop in revenue because of the Covid-19 crisis and subsequent restrictions had approached the government and asked them to run an airline.
The government was currently reviewing the pilot’s proposal.
It is understood there have been problems with the Real Tonga’s lease on the Chinese aircraft from the government.
This morning’s incident in Vava’u comes after a Real Tonga flight was forced to make an emergency landing at the Fua’amotu domestic airport in February.
The aircraft was travelling from Tongatapu to Vava’u when it allegedly developed a mechanical issue.
Noise had been heard coming from the aircraft shortly after it took off, Real Tonga CEO Tevita Palu told Kaniva News.