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Wed, May 19, 2004

So Long, Tongan

Cash-Poor National Carrier Ends International Flights

If you want to get from the US to the 170-island archipelago of Tonga, you're going to have to find some way besides Royal Tongan Airlines. The flagship carrier of the islands lost its only international aircraft, a Boeing 757, last month when it was repossessed by Royal Brunei Airlines. Now, the island nation has decided to scrap the international arm of its carrier altogether.

About 1,800 tourists were reportedly stranded when the 757 was repossessed April 23rd. That one 757 had been flying from Tonga capitol to destinations in Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.

Now, Tonga will have to depend on foreign carriers to boost its international tourist trade. Right now, the island chain is served by Air New Zealand, Polynesian Airlines, Air Pacific and Air Fiji.

FMI: www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/tn.html

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