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Chathams Pacific Convair 580 50 Seat Aircraft

DC-3 Flies to Nuiatoputapu

Written on the 14th of December 2011

Today is a very special day for Chathams Pacific Airline – Tonga’s Domestic Airline as our Douglas DC-3 aircraft (named Tangaloa – God of the Sky)  takes it's first flight to Nuiatoputapu in recent years. The remote island of Nuiatoputapu is usually serviced once a week by our eight seater Queen Air aircraft, which has also provided numerous medical evacuation services to the remote Niuas. There has been a significant increase in passengers and freight to and from Nuitoputapu prior to Christmas this year, and we are pleased to be able to schedule the 24 seater DC-3 to fly to Nuiatoputapu  the two consecutive weekly flights prior to Christmas to meet the demand- (on the14th and 21st December). The DC-3 flights to Nuiatoputapu will be Captained by the very experienced Captain Keith Mitchell who was also the Team Leader in the restoration of the DC3 in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Initially the flights to The Nuias were needed to be subsidised by the Tongan government. However, during the last year with the introduction of a more reliable and cost effective Queen Air aircraft, and the increase of passengers to these destinations, the cost of the flights have become neutral and self supporting. The reliable weekly service to The Niuas has encouraged a small VFR market for local Tongans and visitors. Our ability to operate the DC-3 aircraft to Niuatoputapu when the demand requires it will be beneficial to the re-development of  Tourism in Niuatoputapu as it rebuilds after the immense damage it suffered during the Tsunami in 2009.

The DC-3 aircraft was brought to Tonga by Pea'u Vava'u which ceased operation in 2006. The vintage aircraft was totally restored by Chathams Pacific and re-entered scheduled services in September 2010. Due to the aircrafts lower flight altitude, the DC-3 is well suited to scenic flying and generally is dedicated to service the Ha'apai route.

Chathams Pacific also operates scheduled flights fortnightly to Nuiafo'ou, and these flights have also been increased to operate weekly prior to Christmas.


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