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Country Report Tonga Product Image

Country Report Tonga

  • ID: 2138734
  • October 2014
  • Region: Tonga
  • 17 Pages
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

On October 8th it was announced that the New Zealand government had lifted the warning against travel to Tonga that it had issued in mid-2013 amid concerns over the safety of an aircraft operated by a Tongan domestic airline.

In early 2013 China gave an MA60 aircraft to Tonga for use by the Real Tonga airline for flights between the main island of Tongatapu and the country's outer islands. However, a dispute over the safety certification of the aircraft prompted a New Zealand-based airline to cease its domestic Tongan services, while the New Zealand government issued a travel warning and suspended NZ$8m (around US$6m) in aid to Tonga earmarked for tourism development. The Tongan government objected to New Zealand's stance, which was not altered despite conflicting reports on the plane from air-safety experts.

A World Bank report into Tonga's entire transport sector, brokered in March 2014 by the two governments, failed to provide a solution, as did Real Tonga's deployment in August of other aircraft, as the MA60 remains in use. However, the New Zealand government has now acknowledged that the Tongan government has sought support from New Zealand for an overhaul of its aviation-safety regime, prompting the lifting of the adverse travel advisory. Whether the removal of the warning will be followed by the release of the suspended tourism-development aid funds will depend on how the safety review proceeds. The aid is badly needed by donor-dependent Tonga.

Country Report Tonga

New Zealand lifts travel advisory for Tonga
Impact on the forecast

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