Samoa Air's 8-seater not sold, just deployed claims SA owner
Samoa Air is down to half of its fleet with its eight-seater Britten Norman servicing Tonga at present.
But conflicting stories have emerged about whether the plane has been bought by a company in the Kingdom.
Yesterday, Samoa Air’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chris Langton denied the report. Instead, he said the aircraft is on a deployment to REAL Tonga – the Kingdom’s national airline.
He said his company entered into an arrangement to provide Tonga with some
“At the moment we are just providing a service – this does come with an option to purchase,” he said. “We also have two crew assisting in Tonga at the moment.”
“We are helping them out at the moment while we are waiting for our other aircraft from Australia.”
REAL Tonga is owned by Palu Aviation Services. According to Palu Aviation’s CEO, Tele Faletau, his company has already purchased the Britten Norman plane.
“We purchased the plane about one month ago,” he told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“It is now in Tonga and we are using it as a seven seater plane. It is not in competition with the other airline here – we are using it on the shorter air routes.”
While the Britten Norman is in Tonga, it means all Samoa Air flights to Pago Pago are grounded until 4 November 2013. As a matter of fact, they have been for two weeks now.
When the Samoa Observer contacted the airline yesterday to enquire about booking a flight to American Samoa, the receptionist confirmed all flights were cancelled until November.
Numerous phone calls to the company’s American Samoa office were met with the message:
“This is a Samoa Tel announcement. The number you have dialled is not valid. Please check the number before redialling.”
The company’s website will no longer allow customers to book trips to Pago Pago online.
But Mr. Langton said Samoa Air has some big plans in the pipeline. Among them is bringing in a bigger aircraft to Samoa.
“At the moment we have no aircraft to service the Pago route,” he said. “We will be bringing in the 14 seater Cessna Caravan.”