Civil Aviation

Aviation industry plays a vital role in connecting the Tongan economy and community in terms of tourism; inter-island and international commerce; and travel for social, educational and medical needs. Tonga needs to provide an environment in which an aviation industry can properly function and be regulated in accordance with internationally and regionally recognized standards.

Civil Aviation in Tonga operates within a system established and maintained in accordance with Civil Aviation Act 2014.

Civil Aviation Division (CAD) regulates the following civil aviation participants to ensure that they comply with the aviation legislations in order to uphold the safety and security in aviation industry.

  • Pilots
  • Aircraft Engineers
  • Aircraft Operators
  • Airlines
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Aerodrome Operators
  • Regulated Air Cargo Agents
  • Aviation Security Service Provider

In Tonga’s civil aviation system, every participant shares a responsibility for safety and security. The CAD do not oversee every flight.

Our Role

CAD establishes rules and regulations to ensure that it meets the Government Policies and its International Obligations.

Government Vision:
“To develop and promote a just, equitable, and progressive society in which the people of Tonga enjoy good health, peace, harmony and prosperity, in meeting their aspirations in life”

CAD Objectives

To provide appropriate systems of rules, regulation and enforcement, consistent with international and national law to guide the safe operation of civil aviation.

Tonga is a signatory to the Chicago Convention and its 19 Annexes. This Convention is administrated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The Division shall ensure that all international standards and obligations are met by Tonga through its legislative framework.

The Minister responsible for Civil Aviation establishes rules for the aviation participants that ensure that it meets its international obligations.

Aviation participants are each responsible for meeting the statutory safety and security standards. CAD shall check that these rules are complied with by the aviation participants and have the power to take action if they are not.

The Rules set the minimum standards for entering, and operating within the, the system. It is best interests of all aviation participants to perform to a standard above the minimum.

Our Services

To monitor adherence within the aviation system to any regulatory requirements, CAD provides the following services in accordance with Civil Aviation Act 2014. The Minister responsible for Civil Aviation establishes rules for the aviation participants that ensure that it meets its international obligations as per Section 40 of the Act. The Rules set the minimum standards for entering, and operating within the system. It is best interests of all aviation participants to perform to a standard above the minimum.

  • Granting of aviation documents

To operate within the aviation industry, an individual or organization must be granted an aviation document.
The Director grants aviation documents such as

  • pilots licence
  • operating certificate
  • aircraft registration
  • engineer licence
  • air traffic licence
  • aerodrome certificate

once they demonstrate that they meet the standards set in the Rules.

Continual Compliance

To continue operating within the aviation industry, the aviation document holder must continue to demonstrate to CAD that it complies with all the Rule requirements.

For instance, Individuals licence holders and are also checked regularly. Aircraft undergo regular airworthiness checks, and those used in commercial aviation operators are subject to additional tailored maintenance requirements. All aircraft may be repaired under the authority of a licence aircraft engineer, and only authorized parts may be used. Operators are checked regularly to ensure that they uphold the standards when they enter the aviation industry.

  • Suspension and revocation of aviation documents

If the aviation document holder fails to demonstrate compliance with the Rules, they may be removed from the system or have conditions imposed on their operations. In less serious cases, safety breaches may be addressed through education, support and advice.

However the Director for Civil Aviation has the power to revoke aviation documents and to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the Act and Rules.

Once the aviation document has been revoked or suspended, the holders must start the entire certification process again from the beginning if they wish to re-enter the system. Their past actions may have significant impact on whether they are granted with aviation document

Resolution of Safety Concerns

CAD also investigates aviation accidents and serious incidents for board range of purpose under the Civil Aviation Act 2014.  The primary role of such activity is to determine the circumstances and causes of any accidents or serious incidents, with a view of avoiding similar occurrences in the future, rather than to ascribe blame to any person.

However, if a safety investigation shows that a participant has deliberately endangered people or property, CAD may consider law enforcement action.

To assist the CAD with its services, Tonga may delegate such tasks to Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) under the Pacific Island State Safety and Security Treaty (PICASST) as CAD see fit.