Plans to relaunch Royal Tongan Airlines are in disarray after the collapse of a deal with Royal Brunei, leaving the Pacific carrier without a suitable aircraft.
The Tongan government-owned airline was scheduled to launch daily services next week between New Zealand and Tonga, and weekly flights between Tonga and Australia, using a Royal Brunei B757.
However, the deal is understood to have collapsed.
Prime Minister 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV's youngest son, was forced to rush home from French Polynesia to deal with the crisis. The prince is also chairman of Royal Tongan Airlines.
An attempt to launch Royal Tongan failed last year following the collapse of a deal to lease an Air Pacific B737. The carrier then failed in an attempt to lease an Air New Zealand aircraft.