Folks head to Apia for Samoa's Independence Day
Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga will lead the American Samoa delegation attending this year’s Samoa Independence Day, with the fautasi race scheduled to get underway this morning, where it is already Friday in Apia. The annual celebration is set for June 1 at Malae o Tiafau in the country’s capital.
The Governor’s Office said the invitation from the Samoa government for Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga was received last Friday, but the governor is unable to attend due to graduation season in the territory.
Therefore, the lieutenant governor and a small delegation will represent American Samoa, and they left yesterday morning for Apia, according to the Governor’s Office.
Many local residents, family members and groups are either in Samoa or will be heading there today and tomorrow for the Independence Day celebrations, and the airlines are reporting the inter-Samoa flights full on the outbound.
At Polynesian Airlines, the Samoa government owned carrier is utilizing its two Twin Otter 19-seat planes to accommodate the busy traffic to Apia. “We are operating our two aircraft back to back due to the high demand,” throughout the week, said Toe Loia, the airline’s local station manager.
Between Monday and Wednesday, Polynesian operated five flights a day; today and tomorrow, it will have eight flights per day said Loia, adding that the airline is accommodating individual travelers as well as groups.
At Inter Island Airways, the locally based carrier is operating three flights each today and tomorrow due to passenger demand, according to an airline official, who added that flights since Monday have also been full.
To accommodate the Manu’a island group, Inter Island has two flights today, including the morning flight which will fly Lolo and the ASG delegation to attend the Manu’a High School graduation on Ta’u island.
The ASG vessel MV Sili departed last night for the island group taking plenty of cargo, just in time for graduation there.
Samoa Air, based in Apia, has one flight scheduled for today and two tomorrow. The airline is also taking a lot of cargo, due to its ongoing low rates.
Polynesian and Inter Island Airways officials say they will also be very busy bringing many passengers back to the territory who travelled for Independence Day. Busy return dates begin on Sunday in Samoa (which will land them back in Pago Pago on Saturday, our time).
Meanwhile, the Samoa government MV Lady Naomi is due in this morning and departs later this afternoon. The vessel can take up to 220 passengers but as of yesterday morning there were only 43 passengers booked for the outbound sail. It appears many are traveling by air.