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USA Federal Aviation refused certification of MA60 aircraft

Nuku'alofa, Tonga


The planes Samiu wants to bring in, the Chinese made MA60, does not have the best reputation. They have been refused a certificate by the American Federal Aviation Department and have been involved in several accidents, one killing all the passengers on board.

The investigation into this crash blamed human error, one of the main factors being not enough training and flight experience on this plane. It was stated that the pilots should have a minimum of 250 hours on the plane, they didn’t. Now Samiu wants to think about sending a couple of pilots to China to be trained and bring the plane back. This doesn’t leave enough time for them to reach the minimum safety figure for training hours, yet they will go straight into duty. If they go to China, they will have to fly five hours a day  or five days a week and do this for 10 weeks. This just isn’t going to happen. The result will be unqualified pilots on this aircraft and lives put at risk.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Any incident will destroy the fragile tourist industry as confidence will be lost and no one will be there to step in.

Samiu claims the new airline will deliver cheaper prices, but he has not stated what price that will be. He claims there will be no interruptions in service but has not shown us how that can happen.

He hasn’t consulted with the private sector companies who are becoming the backbone of income generation in Tonga.

He has not spoken to the tourist industry for feedback or advice.

He has stepped out of his mandated position to interfere in private enterprise, as one may expect in a corrupt economy.

He has not shown how this debt for the planes will be repaid; we the people will end up paying.

There are so many issues left unclear and undeclared, so much at stake for an economy just picking up. Yet again, parts of this Government are actually forgetting they are here to serve the people, not themselves. If the Government has nothing to hide, keep Chathams Pacific as a service provider until a full open and honest investigation can clarify all the points of concern.

Make Government answer the hard questions, which is after all what we pay them to do.

Sione Taufa

slackster [at] outlook [dot] com

Editor (abridged)