Tonga Airways (Tongatapu) has been forced to scrub its December 19 inaugural flight after the service failed to secure the green light from the Tongan Ministry of Infrastructure and Tourism, the government department responsible for civil aviation.

The start-up had planned to begin 2x weekly Vava'u-Tongatapu return flights using an unspecified aircraft chartered from Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi).

However, the Chairman of Tonga Airways, Samiu Vaipulu, told Matangi Tonga news that Tongan Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism Semisi Sika had initially supported the service only to refuse to sign a permit last week.

Vaipulu has added his start-up must now refund over 200 tickets sold in anticipation of the launch.

No revised launch timetable has since been announced.

At present, Real Tonga Airlines (RLT, Tongatapu) is the only known scheduled operator to offer regular inter-island flights throughout the Tongan archipelago.