Update: Airport snafu leads to temporary HAL scheduling changes
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Hawaiian Airlines “has had to re-time our flight schedule” and move arrivals and departures to the daytime at Pago Pago International Airport. This scheduling change will be in effect until the latter part of July, according to the airline’s spokesperson Ann Botticelli, adding that the change begins with tonight’s flight, which is being considered a delayed flight, with Hawaiian Air’s waiver policy in place. (See waiver policy info at end of this story.)
So instead of night flights on Mondays and Thursdays, the flight arrivals and departures at the Tafuna airport are now daytime on Tuesdays and Fridays — arriving at 6:30a.m from Honolulu and departing two hours later.
“This is due to the FAA's need to replace the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Pago Pago International Airport,” Botticelli said Saturday via email from Honolulu. “Parts are expected to arrive later this summer [for the ILS].”
“Until the ILS is repaired, our pilots are required to land our aircraft using visual references,” she explained. “Because safety is our priority, we will be altering our flight schedule to allow our aircraft to take off and land (in American Samoa) during daylight hours.”
Although FAA spokesman Ian Gregor, who is based in Los Angeles, acknowledged receiving email questions from Samoa News on Saturday, he noted that he won’t be able to get responses until today for Samoa News inquiries, such as when FAA had made plans for repairs to the ILS and when Hawaiian was informed regarding ILS repairs.
Responding to Samoa News follow-up questions, Botticelli responded, “My understanding is that the ILS became inoperable in late March and we expected the problem to be fixed fairly quickly. When we learned the situation would last into the summer, we decided to re-time the flight.”
“The nearby mountain makes visual landing in the dark more difficult. Any inclement weather could result in diversions,” she explained. “It is best, therefore, to retime the flights through the summer to ensure daylight arrivals and departures.”
According to Botticelli, the “new flight schedule takes effect immediately” and runs through July 27, in which flight 465 departs Honolulu at 1:30a.m. arrives Pago Pago at 6:30a.m. Flight 466 then departs at 8:30a.m. arriving Honolulu at 2:55p.m.
The airline’s third weekly summer flight will also change its arrival and departure times to daytime. The third summer flight was due to commerce on Jun. 5 but will now commence on June 6 (a Wednesday) — arriving here at 6:30a.m. and departing at 8:30a.m.
Botticelli provided information yesterday morning regarding waivers for today’s delayed flight. For the Honolulu to Pago Pago segment, which is now re-timed for tomorrow morning, passengers may make a one-time change without fees, to any other Hawaiian flight within a 14-day period.
Additionally, tickets may be rerouted only between the points named on the original ticket for travel on Hawaiian. Customers who elect not to fly may request refunds.
Samoa News encourages passengers on the Honolulu-Pago Pago flight to contact Hawaiian reservation center in Honolulu for full details of the waiver policy for today’s flight.
For the Pago Pago-Honolulu flight, also retimed for tomorrow morning:
• Passengers who do not reside in Pago Pago will be accommodated in available hotels as needed.
• Passengers with connecting flights should call reservations for assistance. Local Hawaiian office 699-1875.
Options provided by Hawaiian:
• Passengers may make a one-time change without fees, to any other Hawaiian flight within a 14-day period. Tickets may be rerouted only between the points named on the original ticket for travel on Hawaiian
• Changes to origin and / or destination may result in a fare increase. Any fare difference between the original ticket and the new ticket will be collected at the time of rebooking.
• Customers who elect not to fly may request refunds.