Real Tonga boss says he wants to revive airline

Real Tonga CEO Tēvita Palu is working to restore his airline this year.

Real Tonga CEO Tevita Palu. Photo/Real Tonga (Facebook)

Speaking to Kaniva News, Palu said he was applying for a license from the government. 

Real Tonga ceased operating last year and most of its staff and assets were taken over by the government.

Before Real Tonga stopped trading, Palu opened the country’s first flight training school, Kingdom Flight Training at the Real Tongan Airline depot at Fua’amotu Airport.

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Students work towards a New Zealand License.

Palu told Kaniva News yesterday that many of the costs of the government’s new airline, including staff and two aircraft, had already been absorbed by Real Tonga.

His company spent US$600,00 repairing its Saab 340 after a birdstrike, only for the aircraft’s owner to re-assign the lease to Lulutai.

Meanwhile ‘Atu Finau, founder of one of Real Tonga’s predecessors, Fly Niu, has become CEO of Air Vanuatu.

Finau was general manager of Air Vanuatu until 2014.

Fly Niu was forced out of business when the government passed a one airline policy and gave a license to Peau Vava’u, an airline, co-owned by the Late King George Tupou V and his business partners, the Ramanlal brothers.

Finau returned to Tonga to try to revive his airline and was expecting to be operational  by the end of 2019.

He also proposed operating a joint service between Tonga and Auckland.

However, nothing came of his efforts.

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