The CEO of the government’s new airline, Lulutai, is understood to have stood down only days before it is due to start flying.
Reliable sources told Kaniva News Maikolo Fa’asolo stood down following claims by an anti-corruption group that he had inflated his CV.
Fa’asolo was formerly Flight Operating Manager of Real Tonga Airlines.
Kaniva News has contacted Fa’asolo and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which is in charge of the airline, for comment and is awaiting a response.
The claims were posted to Facebook by the Tongan Anti Corruption Committee known as Komiti Fakafepaki’i e Faihala. The group’s three Facebook moderators included lawyer Dr Viliami Lātū who is a former MP and Cabinet Minister.
Lulutai Airline has advertised in local media that it will start domestic flights on Saturday, September 19.
CEO of Real Tonga Tevita Palu told Kaniva News in an interview last week his Real Tonga company could do all the technical work including maintenance of the government’s aircraft, but the government was working to establish its own engineering branch to look after the services.
Palu said his Real Tonga airline’s license has been suspended by the government based on what he said was the Civil Aviation’s Director’s interpretation of the law.
He said work was underway to renew the Real Tonga’s Air Operating Certificate, which was suspended on June 15 because of the carrier’s financial problems. Palu said the future of the airline would depend on talks with the government.
He said he had repeatedly asked the government to work with him.
Palu said he was happy as all the staff at the Lulutai including the pilots, engineers, sales and marketing, commercial, check in staff, drivers, accountant and human resources represented an investment made by the Palu Aviation over the past 20 years.