Real Tonga Airlines first commercial flight from Faleolo to Tonga scheduled for today has been cancelled.
The decision has been made as Tonga braces for Tropical Cyclone Gita, which is intensifying to a category 4 cyclone.
This was confirmed by Mele Manuofetoa, an official of the airline.
“I have received an email from Tonga that the flight has been cancelled because of the cyclone warning in Tonga until further notice,” Mele said.
“I will surely advise once a confirmed time is issued,” she told the Samoa Observer in an email.
Last week, Real Tonga Airlines Owner and C.E.O., Tevita Palu, said the airline is set to use its SAAB 340 plane to transport passengers between the two island nations as the start of something the management of Real Tonga hopes to expand to other parts of the region.
The airline has already signed a codeshare agreement with Samoa Airways. Codeshare is an aviation business arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight.
The flight out of Samoa is a step in the fight direction, according to Mr. Latu who told the Samoa Observer the Airline started in 2013.
“I started the airline as a sole and private owner of Real Tonga in 2013 to service Tonga’s domestic air service,” he said.
“Moving to start international and regional air service is quite an achievement for Real Tonga.
“I look forward to working hand in hand with Samoa’s owned airline, Samoa Airways to develop the air transportation between our two nations and to support tourism growth in the Pacific.”
To start, Real Tonga will operate two flights from Tongatapu via Vavau per week.
“We have three engineers based at Faleolo International Airport as support maintenance for Real Tonga.
“The airline is currently completing final license requirements in Samoa and will commence operations with two flights per week.
“All flights are to be operated from Fua’amotu Domestic Airport to Faleolo International Airport in Samoa via SaloteLupepau’u International Airport, Vava’u
“Real Tonga will be utilising the SAAB 340 for our regional flights which will be offering up to 30 passenger seats and a full meal service.
“It has been over a decade since there was any significant commercial capacity between the two Polynesian nations.”