After reading the many comments and stories surrounding the collapse and closure of the Royal Tongan Airlines on 22 April 2004, I was both disappointed and saddened for both the loses in tourism and job opportunities the Kingdom vitally needs to stay afloat.
Tonga needs it’s airline and tourism and to survive both socially and economically, the monarchy, the government and local tourism industry needs to work together and to do more to turn the failures of the past into a new reality for the immediate future.
Most saddening was to see average Tongans loose their jobs and for many their way of living in the country caused by the failure of not pulling together to make Royal Tongan Airlines a realistic and proud entity over the Pacific skies.
Tonga needs to advertise overseas through media and television to Chinese, Japanese, U.S, European and Australian markets to survive and to achieve the same success stories now enjoyed by our South Pacific neighbours and their tourism and airline successes such as Fiji and Air Pacific, Pacific Link, Samoa and Polynesian Airlines, New Zealand and Air N.Z, French Polynesia and Air Calan, PNG and Air Niugini, Rarotonga and Air Rarotonga, Vanuatu and Air Vanuatu,Hawaii and Hawaiian Air.
Our monarchy, nobles, land owners need to create jobs by releasing land to overseas investment, creating public faciliities, holiday resorts, hotels, in their townships and villagers creating jobs for the local people. Our country needs it’s airline to fly again and promote Tonga to the world, without working together to achieve this we have no identity and no future prospects for our children, without Royal Tongan Airlines and the Lulutai in the sky, there is nothing to be proud of when it comes to travelling, there are no jobs and for many Tongans, no easier way of travelling domestically or internationally, without our airline and tourism, Tonga has no long term future.
Working together to build a better Kingdom and successful tourism and airline industry takes all of us the monarchy, the government, local businesses and the tourism industry to become a reality and like our Pacific neighbours a huge success story in jobs creation and wealth for our children’s future.
We all need the Lulutai in the sky once again.
Andrew Fifita J.P