left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Tonga receives 2nd donation of China aircraft

Updated: 2014-08-07 06:59
By Liu Peng ( China Daily)

17-seat Y-12 expected to lift Pacific island nation's tourism industry

The Chinese government donated a Chinese-made aircraft to Tonga on Wednesday, injecting new vitality into the friendship and aviation cooperation between the two countries.

The aircraft, a 17-seat Y-12, is expected to join a 52-seat MA-60 that was donated by China in July of last year to serve Tongans and boost the South Pacific island country's air transportation and tourism industry.

Huang Huaguang, the Chinese ambassador to Tonga, presented a crystal key symbolizing the Y-12 to King Tupou VI on Wednesday.

During the handover ceremony, Samiu Kuita Vaipulu, Tonga's deputy prime minister, expressed the Tongan government's appreciation and gratitude for this gift from the Chinese government, saying the aircraft will be put to immediate use to boost Tonga's domestic air transportation service.

Huang said: "As Tonga's trustworthy friend and important partner, the Chinese government will fully support the goal set by the Tongan government to develop civil aviation and tourism, and the Chinese government is ready to provide continuous assistance to further enhance the self-development capacity of Tonga in the areas of civil aviation and tourism.

"China highly values cooperation with Tonga and cherishes the friendship between our two countries. In recent years, the mutual cooperation has been greatly deepened and expanded. I am full of confidence that more fruitful results will be generated for the friendship between China and Tonga, with the kind support of (King Tupou VI) and the joint efforts of our two governments," the ambassador added.

A smiling King Tupou VI, accompanied by Huang and Zhang Guangjian, executive vice-president of the Aviation Industry Corp of China International Holding Corp, experienced the new aircraft's debut flight in his kingdom.

Zhang also witnessed the handover of the MA-60 on July 6, 2013, as well as the first-anniversary celebrations of the MA-60's safe operation. The king was aboard for the MA-60's maiden flight in Tonga, too.

The MA-60, criticized as unsafe by some media in New Zealand and the United States, has been doing fine in Tonga.

According to Zhang, the Chinese-made turboprop-powered airliner has safely flown more than 700 flight hours and has shuttled more than 18,000 passengers within Tonga.

"The Y-12 will join the fleet to meet the requirements of the increasing demand of the country ... (and) will cooperate with the MA-60 to contribute to Tonga's people, to tourism and even to the transportation of (the entire) South Pacific," said Zhang.

A light general-purpose aircraft, the Y-12 features short takeoff and landing distances, lower operating costs and sound performance in high temperatures and highland environments.

The Y-12 is widely used around the world and is known for its safety and adaptability, said a representative of Aviation Industry Corp of China, adding that in the Pacific islands region, Tonga is the fourth nation to introduce the aircraft. The three others are Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati.

Xinhua News Agency

(China Daily 08/07/2014 page5)