Manu’a Airways slated to be up and running Oct 2014
Earlier this year Executive Vice President of Inter Island Airways, Barney Sene told the Fono that Segaula and Manu’a Airways would be up and running by April this year, before Flag Day. It did not happen.
Responding to Samoa News queries, Sene says this time that — with all final inspections completed — the airplane will be up and running in October. He stated, “When I provided an update to the Fono in March, it was with a caveat that it depended on FAA inspections and certain avionics equipment that needed to be replaced in the aircraft.
“On our website (www.interislandair.com), we continue to reference this caveat or dependency,” he said.
“The specific equipment we need to replace, which was flagged by the FAA in March, was the transponder of the aircraft. The Segaula has a transponder unit that does not comply with FAA current requirements for commercial aircraft use under Part 135.”
Sene further stated that they are working with ASG/Port Administration to acquire a replacement transponder. “The replacement transponder is due to be replaced by an Avionics Technician from Los Angeles in mid-August.
“It has taken this long to obtain and schedule an avionics technician to come down to Pago Pago due to worldwide demand for the unit (Garmin GTX330ES) and factory certified avionics technicians to perform the installation.”
The Executive VP further stated the Segaula is also due for an annual aircraft inspection.
“This annual inspection involves opening up the entire aircraft, removing interior, opening inspection holes, replacing timed out parts, and running a thorough inspection of the engines and all areas of the aircraft for corrosion and fatigue. This work will require over 220 man-hours. We have started this work and plan to complete it by mid-September followed by a test flight of the aircraft and validation of the transponder.”
According to Sene, once this is completed, “the FAA inspectors would come down to Pago Pago for their final inspection of the Segaula, our flight and maintenance crew training, route simulations and facility inspections for supporting the aircraft. The FAA requires the Segaula have a new replacement transponder installed and working, and a fresh annual inspection before they can look at the aircraft.”
He explained, “the HNL-based FAA Inspectors generally travel to Pago Pago each quarter for their regular inspection and surveillance work on Inter Island Airways, and any other Pago Pago-based aircraft. The next scheduled trip by the inspectors is in October 2014 when the new fiscal year begins. We are coordinating with the FAA for final inspections and sign-off of the Segaula to occur in early October. Once this is completed, we plan to launch Manu'a Airways a few days later.
Sene said they have also been "exploring" direct flights from Pago Pago to Fiji this year. “This is all dependent on the launch of our Fiji sister airline operations later this year, and the aircraft being ready for flight. At this time, we have moved our planned date for this to occur later this year. More information will be forthcoming over the months on our website.”