World Bank to fund Pacific air safety

The Pacific Civil Aviation Safety Authority says new funding from the World Bank will help bolster the international reputation of air travel in the region.
A large part of the $US2.15 million grant will be put towards modernising information systems and upholding safety regulations.
The authority’s director, Wilson Sagati, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program the World Bank funding will help protect against fears of traveling in the region following several disasters in recent years.
“If we don’t put in place mechanisms so that we build a capacity to meet international aviation safety standards then obviously the risk will increase in that regard,” he said.
The upgrade follows a travel advisory from New Zealand over aircraft safety in Tonga, making it hard for tourists to get insurance to travel in the country.
That warning also saw the suspension of millions of dollars in tourism aid.
Tongan tourism operators say aircraft safety fears are crippling business.
In August, New Zealand’s foreign minister Murray McCully drew attention to the MA60 aircraft gifted by China and operated by Real Tonga by issuing a travel warning.
The aircraft has been involved in a significant number of accidents around the world and is not certified to fly in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the United States.
– AUSTRALIA NETWORK
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