DOC to work closely with Inter Island Airways, says Lolo

Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga (left) shakes hands with Inter Island Airways chief executive officer Alex Sene (right) after the governor signed the payment voucher last Wednesday providing $400,000 to the airline from the American Samoa Venture Fund (ASVF) program, which is funded by the US Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) and administered locally by the Commerce Department.

 According to a news released from the Governor’s Office last Thursday afternoon, the $400,000 is to supplement the airline’s total investment of $8.5 million to purchase an aircraft for air service for the Manu’a island later this year.

In signing the payment voucher, the airline is expected to receive the cash in a week or two, the governor said he is happy and pleased that after many years trying to find a permanent solution to the air service challenge to Manu’a “we are now able to do so through a partnership” with the airline.

Inter Island Air’s application, is the first one to be approved and funded under the ASVF, and the application was reviewed and approved by DOC, the ASVF fund manager Marshall Ashley, the SSBCI investment committee and compliance team.  According to the Governor’s Office, the application also met “stringent requirements” of having private investment dollars to achieve the overall program goals.

Lolo says he has instructed DOC director Keniseli Lafaele to work closely with the airline to “assure that this initiative is successful.”

Sene extended appreciation to the governor “for having confidence” in the locally based carrier to re-launch air service to Manu’a. He also thanked the wide community support, patience and prayers “in our efforts…”

The Samoa government owned Samoa Airways has been providing air service for Manu’a under a federal cabotage waiver, as Inter Island Air has not operated since three years ago.

Lolo extends his appreciation to Samoa Air for responding to air transportation needs of Manu’a residents, along with special requests from ASG for this service. (See Samoa News edition last Friday for more details.)


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