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A new Samoa Air files app for full service for AmSam

A third airline is hoping to enter the inter Samoa market, starting with the launching of a Savai’i island service to Pago Pago, followed by air service out of Upolu island to the territory and beyond.

Islander Enterprises Samoa Ltd. dba Samoa Air filed the application last week with the U.S. Department of Transportation seeking an exemption and a foreign air carrier permit (FACP) authorizing the airline to engage in scheduled and charter foreign air transportation of persons, property and mail:

•         from points behind Samoa, via Samoa and intermediate points, to any point or points in American Samoa and beyond; and

•         for all-cargo service or services, between American Samoa and any point or points.

(Samoa Air filed at the same time last week a separate application with the USDOT seeking a cabotage waiver to provide air transport service between Pago Pago International Airport and the two domestic airports in the Manu’a island group. See last Friday’s edition of Samoa News for details).

According to the application, Samoa Air initially intends to conduct scheduled combination flights on a nonstop basis between Maota International Airport on Savai’i island and Pago Pago.

“Samoa Air plans to reestablish scheduled air transportation services between Maota and Pago Pago, which has lacked such service for approximately seven years,” the airline says.

(The Tutuila based Samoa Air, now defunct, and not the same company as the Samoa based one, had first launched direct flights between Maota and Pago Pago several years ago, officially opening Maota as an international airport. The Samoa government owned airline followed suit thereafter with service but later discontinued that direct air transport connection, which was convenient for local residents who are from Savai’i.)

For Samoa Air, the carrier says it may also conduct scheduled or charter flights between Fagali’i and Faleolo international airports on Upolu island and Asau airport on Savai’i island to and from Pago Pago “as demand warrants.”

Currently the Samoa government owned Polynesian Airlines and Tutuila based Inter Island Airways serves the Upolu/Pago Pago route. Samoa Air currently provides flights between Upolu and Savai’i islands.

In its USDOT application, Samoa Air says it intends to commence operation between Samoa and American Samoa “as soon as possible”; and therefore it requests that USDOT issue “on an expedited basis a single order” granting authority for a two year period or until the requested permit authority becomes effective, whichever occurs earlier; and  approving the FACP request under the show-cause procedures prescribed by federal regulation.

Samoa Air pointed out that the authorization being sought is fully consistent with the Multilateral Agreement on the Liberalization of International Air Transportation (MALIAT) to which the United States and Samoa are parties. Further, Samoa Air has been designated under the MALIAT by its homeland government to conduct the operations proposed in the application.

According to the airline, approval of its application is also consistent with the public interest, U.S. multilateral obligations and established USDOT policy.

In support of its application, Samoa Air provided among other things, its business license issued by the Samoa government, its Air Service License and Certificate of Operations also issued by its government, as well as other pertinent records — such as its private ownership — for review by the federal government.

Samoa Air says its current fleet of two 9-seater planes and a three-seat aircraft will be used in the proposed operation to and from American Samoa.

In his Nov. 14 letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Gov. Togiola Tulafono not only supported Samoa Air’s request for a waiver to operate the territory’s domestic flights between Pago Pago and the Manu’a island group but also the proposed application for flights between Samoa and Pago Pago International Airport.

“ this application by Samoa Air as it will enhance the travel and shipping options between our two countries,” the governor wrote.