26 Aug 2008

Airline Tonga suspends operations

9:45 am on 26 August 2008

Airline Tonga, one of the two airlines operating Tonga's domestic air service, has suspended its operations indefinitely.

Matangi Tonga online reports information from an Airline Tonga ticketing outlet in Nuku'alofa confirmed that the airline has stopped the selling its domestic air tickets until further notice.

The stoppage of the service of Airline Tonga comes only a few days after the end of coronation celebrations in the outer islands of Tonga at one of the busiest times ever for the domestic air services.

Over the last month extra flights were introduced to cope with the demand from visitors.

Several passengers, who had bookings with Airline Tonga, remain stranded in Vava'u and Ha'apai and were unable to connect with international flights.

The Air New Zealand office in Nuku'alofa has confirmed that six Air New Zealand passengers who were scheduled to leave Tonga this morning were still in Vava'u and had missed their flight.

Matangi Tonga understands the second airline that operates the domestic air service, Chatham Pacific, is looking at the possibility of increasing its flights to pick up the stranded passengers.