Press Release

As a result of constructive open dialog between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Real Tonga on the 30 September 2014, with the common purpose of improving of domestic aviation safety through objectively addressing specific safety issues, and ensuring minimal impact on the public service that the airline provides, it is herein made known that;
The Government will not revoke or suspend Real Tonga’s AOC, however the intent of its commitment to ICAO to improve aviation safety will nevertheless still be pursued rigorously to ensure that the safety and regulatory framework will be developed to a higher and acceptable standard in line with ICAO standards.
This improvement and development within the regulatory framework will involve a closer collaboration between the Ministry and PASO, which is recognized by ICAO as a credible regulatory oversight entity within the Pacific region. It is expected that PASO or another ICAO recognized oversight entity will perform a full review of Real Tonga’s operational exposition, including detailed audits of the company’s operations, aircraft airworthiness and maintenance activities. However, the revoking of Real Tonga’s operating certificate would not be a pre-requisite to this process. Individual aircraft will likely be scheduled out of service for a number of days as part of the review process.
Real Tonga has reassured Government of its commitment to Safety as its First priority and would therefore welcome the requirements and recommendations of any Safety Oversight entity that the Government might contract, especially should it further improve its compliance rating while it remains in operation. It will act quickly and appropriately to address any issues that may arise.
Given the above, Government does not deem it necessary to engage a foreign air operator to be brought in. It is of the view that it can assist Real Tonga by strengthening certain areas within the organization, by providing better communication channels and direction between the two entities and ensuring the provision of an ICAO acceptable safety oversight provider; as well as formalizing and adopting the necessary legal and regulatory framework to support local aviation.
Government understands and recognizes the critical role that the domestic carrier plays within the local economy through trade, tourism and social aspects of its transport services and it is prepared to work together with Real Tonga to objectively and effectively address the issues raised by ICAO and PASO, in a timely manner, whilst ensuring that safe air services are maintained.
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