Government to review airline operations

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Minister of Civil Aviation (R) Hon. Sēmisi Sika. Photo/Facebook

Both full government control and full privatisation are possibilities for airline operations in Tonga.

The government announced in its budget 2017 – 2018  that it will review airline operations.

Options for the airline industry include making the airline service whole a government owned operation, maintaining the current system, partial privatisation with the government as majority shareholder and full privatisation.

In the short term, the government will offer subsidies for Real Tonga’s flights to the Niuas and open up direct air services from Nadi to Vava’u.

Airline operations in Tonga have  been troubled for many years, with a number of failed attempts to start up second airlines and discontent over costs.

Legal provisions for economic regulations to guide the supervision of the domestic aviation industry were drafted under the Civil Aviation Act 2014.

It is anticipated they will be submitted to Cabinet and Parliament this year.

A formal economic policy for the aviation transport sector is yet to be established.

According to the budget statement, preliminary discussions are being held between Government and the private sector.

It is expected the policy is anticipated to be completed by the end of this financial year.

The main points

  • Both full government control and full privatisation are possibilities for airline operations in Tonga.
  • The government announced in its budget that it will review airline operations.
  • Options for the airline industry include making the airline service whole a government owned operation, maintaining the current system, partial privatisation with the government as majority shareholder and full privatisation.

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