By ALFRED TUIKORO TORA (Associate Editor)
Utah, USA – May 11, 2020: 4am: News that the Tongan government is looking at setting up a domestic airline company is worrying.
Worrying because there is already a Tongan businessman who has been running a local airline for the last seven years at least.
Real Tonga, operated by Mr Tevita Palu, is a local business that needs Tongan government support.
I believe Mr Palu and his company should receive 100% support from government. That is if the current government is really serious about helping local businesses.
It is not secret that Real Tonga has been struggling for years, trying to keep afloat.
The global coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic did not help either.
Staff were laid off across the board and leases for aeroplanes are being reneged.
Money is drying up.
That is not Mr Palu or Real Tonga’s doing but is a crisis that has rocked the whole world.
Now, at a time when everyone thinks government would step in and help Real Tonga out they are instead trying to set up their own company, with the reported inclusion of some pilots and staff laid off from the local airliner because of the crisis.
What a way to say thank you to a local who had invested so much in a service he hopes would help the people of Tonga.
Come on PM Dr Pohiva and team!
Royal Tongan airline should be a lesson for all.
Leave the airline business to those who are already into it. Give them government support, partner with them so they can get rights to fly across the region.
Don’t send them packing.
That is not a good government.
Leave political affiliations and views aside.
Real Tonga needs government’s support.
In the past they had sent proposals to governments in the past. But they were knocked back.
Last week, Hon Dr Pohiva announced that “It is important for the nation to know that the government does not take this lightly.
“The expense for operating an airline is huge and none of the previous airline operators in Tonga made any profit whatsoever. However, the service is required for the people.”
But why kill a local company that is already struggling to survive?
If you are a real government by the people, for the people then back Real Tonga to the bank.
Put your money where your mouth is.