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VirginFlyer
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Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:14 am

Hi all! I came across this the other day (after a hint from a mate of mine). Royal Tongan Airlines (WR), the national carrier of the Kingdom of Tonga, an island group in the South Pacific, is once again to operate international jet services. The airline's first jet services were made using a 737-300 leased from Air Pacific in the early 1990s. This aircraft was later replaced by a 737-200 leased from Air New Zealand (I have no idea how much truth there is to this, but apparently the King of Tonga found the J class seats in this aircraft significantly more comfortable than on the -300)


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However, sometime in 2000 the airline fell foul of regulations regarding the operations of the aircraft, and it ceased jet services, instead codesharing with Air New Zealand, Air Pacific and Polynesian Airlines. They did however maintain services in the islands, with a Shorts 360 and a DHC-6.

Now, they plan to resume jet services, this time with a 757-200 leased from Royal Brunei Airlines. The period of the lease is 5 years, initially as a wet lease, but later with the intention of using Tongan crew. TBU-AKL (Tongatapu - Auckland) services will commence 25th November, operating six times weekly (no Sunday flight - probably due to the very religious nature of the Tongan community), with once weekly extensions to Sydney and Honolulu.

I must say it is nice to see this carrier having a change of fortunes - hopefully this venture will be a success. I was reading in the Sun-Herald this morning, and there was an article in the travel section about Tonga - it definitely appears to be a place that has a lot of potential as a remote, unspoiled tropical paradise.

For more information on Royal Tongan Airlines, check out: http://www.flyroyaltongan.com/

V/F

P.S. - Can 'Tonga', 'Tongan' and 'Brunei' please be added to the spell checker?
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
airplanetire
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 12:05 pm

That's interesting. Thanks for posting it. Where would a person have to go nowadays if they wanted to get to Tonga?
 
Jj
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 12:13 pm

Probably you can get there from New Zealand, Fiji, and the American Samoa, as the airline was code sharing with airlines from there....?
 
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Bru

Sun Oct 20, 2002 12:48 pm

Jj - Correct (well, almost - Polynesian Airlines is from Samoa, not American Samoa). I also believe there has also been talk on and off about Air Rarotonga running a service Rarotonga-Niue-Tongatapu - don't know whatever became of that, or if the Niue-Tongatapu leg was under serious consideration.

For interest's sake, here are those three airline's websites - you can check up on flights to Tonga from there:

http://www.airnz.com
http://www.airpacific.com
http://www.polynesianairlines.com

Does anyone in the know at these airlines know what will become of the codesharing deals once WR is operating the 757? Will the codeshare deals be terminated, or expanded to include the 757?

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
Guest

RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 3:05 pm

I believe the 757-200ER is an wet lease deal so the aircraft will be operated by RB crew until WR crew get trained on the aircraft .

nzjet100
 
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Bru

Sun Oct 20, 2002 4:18 pm

As it says in the original post, nzjet...

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
TG992
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 4:28 pm

WR notified NZ about 2 months ago that this would be happening, and all codeshare deals have been terminated to take effect on 25 November.

This is apparently all the King's idea - he's also keen on the idea of operating to Japan and Hong Kong a bit later on in the piece, using a Royal Brunei 767.

-
 
airnewzealand
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 5:29 pm

That has to be a very funny Idea!!
One of the funniest i have heard in a while!
Pity they couldnt even fill a 737-200, how the hell do they think they will fill a 757-200 which has around 40 more seats onboard!?!?
They couldnt even promote Tonga very well in New Zealand, let alone when they started to fly to Niue...

hmmm...
Lets hope they do it better this time, but with what many Tongans say living in New Zealand...now that they have found AirNZ, they will not change!!..Oh well...nice times ahead!

Cheers
Mike
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 6:47 pm

Hmm I read something about this the other day! Yes lets hope WR make a better fist of things this time and can full this aircraft.

A 757-200 on a regular service to AKL cool!!

Will NZ still fly to TBU 4x weekly? NZ have a weekly TBU-LAX service with a 763, stops in APW one way.
 
StarFlyer
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Brunei

Sun Oct 20, 2002 8:06 pm

VirginFlyer,

Air Rarotonga does not operate international flights at the moment. Would their SAAB340 aircraft even make it to Niue and on to Tonga?

Regards,
StarFlyer
Yours truly - StarFlyer
 
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RE: Royal Tongan To Fly 757-200, Deal W/ Royal Bru

Sun Oct 20, 2002 11:04 pm

StarFlyer - Niue was definitely under consideration for scheduled service- I am sure they had started operating that route, although then again it has been a while since I last checked up on goings on in the Cook Islands, so who knows. I will try and find out for you...

Anyway, taken from their site http://www.airraro.com, "We operate scheduled passenger and cargo services between nine scheduled destinations within the Cook Islands and non-scheduled demand charter to neighbouring Pacific Island countries including Tahiti, Niue, Tonga and Samoa." So they obviously have the technical capability of doing it.

On another deviation from topic, I can not seem to find a decent online reference about aviation in the Pacific Islands, which for me is an area of great interest. Is there one out there hiding from Google? Would there be much interest in a website dedicated to Pacific Island commercial aviation?

V/F
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh