13 Feb 2012

Tonga DC-3 still out of service

4:14 pm on 13 February 2012

A Chathams Pacific DC-3 aircraft remains grounded in Tonga, three weeks after it was forced out of service by mechanical faults.

The plane services the outer Tonga islands and had to turn back to Tongatapu last last month when carrying the King's mother, Queen Halaevalu Mata'aho, to Ha'apai.

Radio Tonga says an engineer from New Zealand's Civil Aviation has been in Tonga to assess the problems.

The airline says it has now replaced a faulty engine and is awaiting clearance from civil aviation officials in Tonga before going back into service.