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Anger as Samoa-Pago flights grounded

STRANDED: Mrs Pe'a with her husband Afoa Tupa'i Pe'a from Lalomalava, Savai'i had to fi nd refuge with another family next to the airport. [Samoa Observer]

It has been three days since a Polynesian Airline plane left the Fagali’i Airport for PagoPago and the delay is frustrating hundreds of passengers who are running out of patience.

Polynesian Airline Chief Executive Officer, Taua Fatu Tielu told the Samoa Observer they had to stop flights to PagoPago on Tuesday because there was a problem in one of the plane’s engines.

He said the engine is needed to be “carefully inspected and tested several times” before it can take off. Their second plane cannot be used because it is being repainted.

Taua could not confirm when flights to PagoPago will resume. He, however, apologised for any inconvenience this might have caused and he hopes the flights will return soon.

Polynesian Airlines, however, is not the only airline experiencing difficulties.

For the past two weeks, Inter-island Airways has also stopped flying between Samoa and American Samoa. While an official comment from the airline could not be obtained at press time, a source within airline told the Samoa Observer that their aircraft is undergoing maintenance.

When the Samoa Observer visitedFagali’iat around 2pm yesterday, there were elderly people and children still waiting for an announcement from Polynesian Airlines.

More than fifty people have been waiting at the airport since 6 o’clock yesterday morning.Some people came as far as Savai’i and were supposed to leave on Tuesday.

Others had work commitments to attend.Some were scheduled to participate in a church conference being held in American Samoa.

Afoa Tupa’i Pe’a, of Lalomalava Savai’i was one of those unhappy people. Accompanied by six other family members including an eight-month-old baby, the father was very disappointed.

Afoa told the Samoa Observer they were scheduled to leave on Wednesday. Sothey caught the 6amferry from Savai’i and they have been stuck at Fagali’i for two days.

“We were told to wait and wait and wait,” he said. “The least they could’ve done is explain to us what is happening…we waited overnight and again this morning (8th November 2012).



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