Governor Lolo calls for an end to flight night chaos
Governor Lolo M. Moliga says the multiple reviews of travel documents of passengers entering the territory via Hawaiian Airlines is sheer chaos that does not bode well for his administration.
The governor made the statement in a letter sent to Attorney General Afoa L Su’esu’e Lutu, Department of Agriculture Acting Director Lealao M Purcell, Treasurer Falema’o Pili, and Port Director Taimalelagi Claire Tuia-Poumele.
According to the Mar. 15 letter, the governor noted that when he arrived from Honolulu last Thursday night he observed a situation in the arrival terminal that did not sit well with him. He added that this chaos projects an image of disorganization and an inability to provide quality service; moreover it does not exude a welcoming spirit to visitors to the territory.
He noted that passengers were subject to multiple reviews of their travel documents during immigration entry review and customs review.
The customs review caused substantial delay requiring the passengers to go through three steps with their luggage prior to finally leaving the customs area. This included the removal of bag from the conveyor belt where luggage is transferred from the plane to the building, loading it on to a trolley, then reloading the bag onto the Agriculture machine, reloading the bag back on to a trolley, only to have to unload it again to a higher platform for customs inspections.
“Some of the travelers were seniors, who had to load and unload their bags, this is unacceptable,” said the governor in his letter. He urged the departments to collaborate and find ways to improve the experience connected with the arrival process.
“Why do passengers have to recheck their travel documents,” asked the governor. He added that the DOA machine takes up too much room and impedes the smooth flow of traffic. The customs first view platform podium is pushed too close to the conveyor belt which leaves little room to form an orderly line to go through the initial review by Custom’s Offices prior to going through Agriculture and then to Customs again.
“The passengers come off the plane tired and very much want to go home, and our existing procedures do not accommodate this natural human aspiration.
“I would like to receive from all of you a refined process to ensure that the passengers are not unduly detained as soon as possible, so we don’t subject future travelers to the same frustrating and annoying ordeal.
“There is no reason why Customs has to review travel documents other than the form provided to the passengers to be filled out on the plane. Moreover there has to be a more orderly and fair way to go through immigration and customs check points to preempt situations where arguments result because some people are aggressive, rude and disrespectful,” said the governor.
OTHER FLIGHT NIGHT ISSUES
Lolo further stated that he has raised concerns about overtime being incurred by personnel who work on flight nights and has also recommended recruiting people specifically to work the flights so no overtime happens.
“I made a commitment to Hawaiian Airlines that the American Samoa Government will not increase the financial burden by charging exorbitant overtime.
“Please provide a plan on how this issue will be resolved before the end of the month. I cannot rationalize how an employee works 40 hours a week and then works 20 more hours of overtime when we only have two flights per week,” he said.
The governor further stated that he hopes that the department heads will have the revised process ready to be implemented prior to the arrival of the Thursday flight next week, (meaning March 21, 2013).
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: email@example.com
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.