Valerie Adams on Real Tonga aircraft as it slides off runway at Fua’amotu

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Valerie Adams in a celebration by her Houma kāinga in Auckland to mark her Olympic Championship in 2012. Photo/NZ Kaniva Pacific News

New Zealand -Tongan world shot-put champion Valerie Adams’ decision to join a double celebration in her homeland could have ended in tragedy after the plane she was on slid off the runway at Fuaʻamotu Airport in Tongatapu during the weekend.

Adams’ flew to Tonga to take part in celebrations of the first Houma Global Community Day and the diamond jubilee of the Catholic Church, which was established in the village 75 years ago.

This was the first time the village had organised such large events, which attracted hundreds of visitors from overseas.

Adams, whose mother Lilika Ngauamo came from Houma and Haveluloto, was one of the key speakers during the events.

She also attended a reception arranged by the royal family in Nukuʻalofa.

A caption of a photo she posted read: “…the Real Tonga Airlines on their way to ‘Eua only to find out the breaks [sic] don’t work as the plane started to slide off the runway…thank goodness everyone was safe and no one got hurt.”

A commentator who followed Adams status said: “Only in Tonga can the Olympic gold medallist go home to relax and almost end up in a plane crash.”

Adams also wrote on her Instagram account and said: “Back in Tonga cause [sic] problems with brakes haha so waiting on eta for our flight zzzzz.”

Real Tonga Airline’s Director Tevita Palu told Kaniva News the aircraft involved was a Chinese-made Harbin Y12, not the notorious MA60.

Palu said the aircraft’s brakes did not operate normally during taxiing. The aircraft returned to the gate normally.

He said the flight was delayed until the defect was fixed, but it was operating normally now.

April’s accident

Last April Real Tonga’s B-65 Queenair crash landed at ‘Eua’s Kaufana Airport.

At the time, the airline said the landing gear failed to lower, causing the pilot to belly land the aircraft.

None of the seven passengers or the pilot were injured.

In 2012, the New Zealand government warned New Zealand tourists they would be flying at their own risk in Tonga because Real Tonga was using an MA60 aircraft, which did not meet New Zealand air safety standards. The MA60 has been involved in a number of incidents in different parts of the world.

New Zealand’s Foreign Affair Minister Murray McCully withheld a large grant meant to help the kingdom’s tourism industry to pressure the Tongan government into taking action over the MA60.

ICAO

In September last year Kaniva News published a confidential letter Tonga’s former Prime Minister Lord Tuʻivakanō sent to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on July 15, 2014 in response to two Mandatory Information Requests concerning the certification of the MA60.

In the letter the then Prime Minister promised to revise Tonga’s civil aviation rules and regulations within 60-90 days and committed the kingdom to meeting New Zealand aviation standards.

Lord Tuʻivakanō undertook to review certain areas in Tonga’s aviation system like the Air Operator Certificates, Foreign Air Operator Certificates, Maintenance Organisation Certificates, Aerodrome Operator Certificates, Airworthiness Certificates, Aircraft Certificate of Registration and Type Acceptable Certificates.

The letter was apparently written to please the ICAO after it was reported the international body was not satisfied with how the Tongan government treated its demand to review its aviation system following the arrival of the controversial aircraft in 2012.

The main points

  • World shot-put champion Valerie Adams’ decision to join a double celebration in her homeland could have ended in tragedy after the plane she was on slid off the runway at Fuaʻamotu Airport on the weekend.
  • Adams was a key speaker at the celebrations of the first Houma Global Community Day and the diamond jubilee of the Catholic Church.
  • Real Tonga Airline’s Director Tevita Palu told Kaniva News the aircraft’s brakes did not operate normally during taxiing.
  • He said the aircraft returned to the gate normally, but was delayed until the defect was fixed.

For more information

‘PM revokes Real Tonga’s airline license’

‘Tonga to Receive First China-Made Y-12 in Late-July or Early August’

Pilot crash lands plane in Tonga

ICAO

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  1. Ne mei iku fakamamahi e kau atu ʻa Valerie Adams ko e semipione Tonga-Nuʻu Sila ʻi māmani he tolo sotiputí ki ha ongo kātoanga ʻe ua ʻi he fonua tupuʻanga ʻene fanga kuí hili ʻeni e heke ha vakapuna ‘a e Kautaha Real Tonga ne ne heka ai ʻi he hala leleʻanga vakapuna ʻi Fuaʻamotú lolotonga e fakaʻosinga uike kuo ʻosí.

    Naʻe ʻi Tonga ʻa Adams ki hono kātoangaʻi e fuofua ʻaho Fakakolope ʻo Houmá pehē ki he siupeli taiāmoni ʻo e Siasi Katoliká talu ʻene tuʻu he koló he taʻu ʻe 75 kuohilí.

    Ko e fua kātoanga lahi ʻeni ʻa Houma ke kau atu ki ai ha kakai Houma mei muli ʻe laungaue tupu.

    Ko Adams, ‘a ia ko ʻene faʻee ko e haʻu mei Houma mo Haveluloto, aʻe kau ia ʻi he kau lea tefito ʻo e katoanga ko ‘eni ‘a e Fungamohuefaa.

    Ne toe ma’u faingamalie foki ‘o ne kau atu ki ha taumafa talitali ‘i he palasi fakatu’i ‘i Nuku’alofa.

    Kaekehe ne kau ʻi he konga ʻene ʻi Tonga ‘a Adams ‘a ʻene palani ke ʻeva ki ʻEua ʻo hoko ai ko ʻeni e fakatamaki ni ka ne ʻikai ha taha ʻe lavea.

    Pehē ʻe Tēvita Palu ki he Kaniva naʻe maumau e taʻofi ʻo e vakapuná ʻi heʻene lele atu ke puna ʻo mavahe pea naʻe foki hake pe ʻo toloi e puná kae ngaahi.

    Ko e vaka ko ʻeni ne hoko ai ʻa e fakatamakí ko e Harbin Y12 kae ʻikai ko e MA60 ʻoku toutou fai ai ʻa e longoaʻá.

    ʻI he māhina ʻEpeli taʻu kuo ʻosi ne tō ʻaki ai ʻe he vakapuna ʻa e kautaha ni ʻi ʻEua hono keté tuʻunga ʻi he ʻikai lava tukuhifo e vaʻe. Naʻe ʻikai ha taha ʻe lavea pe mate ʻi he fakatamaki ko ʻeni.

    Ne ʻosi fakatokanga ʻa e Ministā ki Muli ʻa Nuʻu Silá ʻi he 2013 ki he kakai ʻo Nuʻu Silá ka nau ka puna vakapuna ʻi Tonga pea ko e foʻui ia ʻo kinautolu ka hoko ha meʻa koeʻuhī he ʻoku ngaueʻaki ʻe Tonga ha vaka ʻoku teʻeki ʻai fakalelei hono sivi ke fakapapauʻi ʻoku malu ke puna. Ne ʻuhinga ʻa e minisitaʻá ni ki he vakapuna MA60 ne meʻaʻofa ʻe Siaina ki Tongá.

    Ne iku ʻo toe taʻofi ʻe Nuʻu Sila haʻane paʻanga tokoni ʻe lau Miliona ne taumuʻa ke tokoni ki he Takimamata ʻa Tongá ke ʻoua ʻe tuku ange koeʻuhi koeʻuhi ko e felauaki he vaká.

    Ne ʻi ai foki ha tohi fakapulipuli ʻa e palēmia ʻo e puleʻanga ki muʻá ne pulusi ia ʻe he Kanivá ʻi Sepitema taʻu kuo ʻosí.
    Ne fai ʻa e tohi ni hili ia ha fakatokanga mamafa mei he sino fakavahaʻapuleʻanga koi a ko e ICAO ʻoku nau puleʻi e ngaahi lao fepunaʻaki fakavahaʻapuleʻanga ʻa māmaní koʻeuhi ko e tātākehe ʻa Tonga mei heʻene ngaahi fiemaʻu ke fakakakato ange ʻa e ngaahi meʻa kau ki heʻene lao fepunaʻaki mo e vakapuna meʻaʻofa Siaina MA60.
    Naʻe palōmesi ʻa e palēmia ki muʻá he tohi ko ʻení ke fakahoko ʻa e ngaahi meʻa ko ʻení.

    • Liliu e ngaahi tuʻutuʻuni mo e lekuleisini ki he fepunaʻaki sivile ʻi loto ʻi he ʻaho ʻe 60 ki he 90.
    • Tukupā ke muimui ki he tuʻutuʻuni fepunaʻaki ʻa Nuʻu Silá
    • Fetongi e kautaha Vakapuna Real Tonga ʻaki ha kautaha vakapuna Nuʻu Sila lolotonga e taimi ʻe fai ai e ngaahi liliu ko ʻeni ki he fepunaʻaki sivile ʻa Nuʻu Silá.

    Mahino foki ne ʻikai hoko ʻa e meʻa ko ʻeni ke fetongi ʻa e kautaha Real Tonga tuʻunga ʻi ha ngaahi alea ki mui ai.

    Ka naʻe pehē ʻe he tohí ko e ngaahi setifikeiti kotoa pe mo e tuʻutuʻuni ne tuku atu ʻe he kau pule ʻo e Potungāue Sivile ki muʻá kau ai hono fakangofua ke puna ʻa e vakapuna MA60 ʻe tamateʻi kotoa ia

    Naʻá toe pehē he tohí ko hono liviu ko ʻeni ʻa e sisitemi fepunaʻaki ʻa Tongá ʻe kau ai hono fakafoʻou e ngaahi setifikeiti ko ʻeni: Air Operator Certificates, Foreign Air Operator Certificates, Maintenance Organisation Certificates, Aerodrome Operator Certificates, Airworthiness Certificates, Aircraft Certificate of Registration mo e Type Acceptable Certificates.

    ʻE kau heni mo hono vakaiʻi kakato e Aviation Activity Questionnaire (SAAQ), Compliance Checklists (CCs), pehē ki he Protocol Questions, ʻa Tonga pea ke ʻave ia ki he ICAO ʻi he ʻaho 17 ʻo ʻOkatopá.