Tonga Airways is a new start-up created by CEO Samiu Vaipulu following the termination of Royal Tonga Airlines. The start-up will include qualified pilots from the previous venture. Tonga Airways chairman Samiu Vaipulu confirmed the carrier abandoned plans to launch Vava'u-Tongatapu service, as the Ministry of Infrastructure has not approved the route. The carrier planned to launch the route on 19-Dec-2016, using equipment leased from Fiji Airways, but only submitted a formal application for approval on 09-Dec-2016. The application was denied by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Tourism. However, Mr Vaipulu stated the carrier still plans to launch service operations possibly from 2017, subject to approval.
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