Passengers disappointed: MA-60 returns without landing due to bad weather

UPDATED: The passengers of Real Tonga airline who were unable to board its MA-60 aircraft  on Tuesday in Vava’u because the plane  returned to Tongatapu without landing due to a bad weather said they were upset by how the company treated them.

Kaniva News could not be able to contact the airline but two passengers, Darrin Spillane and Graeme Robertson told the local Kele’a Newspaper there were “no accommodation” provided.

When they contacted the airline to confirm what had happened and to discuss the problems they encountered they were only told the plane “Can’t fly” and “No one is flying on the plane today.”

“The problem the  airplane flew to Vava’u this morning but the weather minimal was not suitable for the aircraft to land ,” Fakatele ‘Akau’ola from the airline told the newspaper this week.

Most of the passengers were bound to arrive in Tongatapu on Tuesday and leave for their overseas destinations on the same day.

The airline’s Islander Aircraft reportedly flied 8 passengers from Ha’apai to Vava’u on the same day so they could return to Tongatapu on the MA-60 but could not make it due to the problem.

MA-60 could not land on the Ha’apai airport.

The aircraft took its first flight last Saturday 10 and the airline announced it was scheduled to fly twice a day to Vava‘u only and no other destinations in Tonga.

The Chinese MA-60 aircraft is designed to  “operate in rugged conditions with limited ground support and has short take-off and landing capability”

Despite US Federal Aviation Administration refused to certify it as well as  other European countries, Tonga has allowed the aircraft  to fly  according to its own  legislation and safety civil aviation regulations.

The aircraft type experienced many accidents in the past ranging from passengers suffered from injuries to death. The most recent one was in June this year when “An MA60 turboprop airliner with 52 people on board crash-landed at an airport in eastern Indonesia … leaving two passengers with minor injuries and forcing state-owned carrier Merpati to write off the plane”.

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