Samoa Air commences services to American Samoa and beyond
APIA, Samoa — Samoa Air announces the commencement of services between Savaii and American Samoa starting on Saturday March 16 with the Inaugural flight “ Samoa” 501 to depart from Maota Airport at 10am local time for Pago Pago.
The flight is the first since the Island was left without any domestic or International services some years ago.
Samoa Air already operates up to six flights a day between Faleolo International Airport and the airports of Maota and Asau as an Air Taxy service catering mostly for International arrivals wishing to transfer to the Big Island of Savaii.
The Airline schedule is for five days per week using its BN2 Islander aircraft “ The Spirit of Savaii” which was officially named in June of last year when the Airline celebrated its emergence as a National Carrier of Samoa.
In addition to the services between Maota and Pago the Airline will operate 5 times weekly between Pago and Fagalii with regular departures from Pago and from Fagalii at on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays Samoa time. The purpose, says the company official, is to register the Airlines intention to provide a regular service which includes both Upolu and Savaii connections to its passengers and for the carriage of freight at the best rate. We want to encourage the transfer of freight by Air with better freight rates for industry.The Airline can also provide American Samoa domestic services to the Manua Group as it has obtained Cabotage rights from the U.S. Department of Transport. This was a facility which was strongly supported by the American Government Administration at the time the application was lodged in 2012.
The CEO of Samoa Air when questioned about Samoa Airs expansion said that the Airline is also in its final stages of approval for services from Samoa to both Niuatoputapu and Vavau with extensions of service to Niuafoo Island under an agreement with the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. This is in support of the new Airline in Tonga “ Real Tonga” which is in the process of taking over the provision of air services in the Kingdom. The CEO says it’s important that Airlines work together in a regional sense where the market is difficult to maintain and where “cooperation is more important than competition”. He says that Samoa Air intends to pursue code share arrangements with other regional airlines so that regional services can be restored into this area of the Pacific in preparation for International flights in “our own right” to the traditional destinations including direct to the U.S. and even to China. These would be our ultimate goals says the CEO.
The Airline has continued the unique facility of charging by the kilo for the fare and the Airline reports that it is finding great support for the system which is the “ fairest of the fares”. Samoa Air allows passengers to take any amount of luggage as long as the luggage weight is included in the fare calculation. In our Airline “ a kilo is a kilo is a kilo” says the CEO. Another way of looking at this is that “if it weighs … it pays….”. You only pay for what it weighs and everyone pays the same rate and it’s the fairest system that you can get”. And of course it’s the safest by far he says.
Samoa Air is also pursuing other agreements from the Cook Islands to provide an Air Service to the atolls of Puka Puka and Manihiki and on to Penrhyn Island. The Airline believes that that this flight schedule could commence within a few months and has dubbed the service the “String of Pearls” route in reference to the fact that the atolls produce some of the worlds finest black pearls.
The CEO says that the effects from the cyclone has caused some disruption in traffic but that now is the time to “ramp up and keep moving” so that the air service can provide some impetus for business and for our Tourist operators to build on.
The Airline is open for bookings for these services as from today.
Source: Samoa Air media release