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Pacific News Briefs

Police speaking to a Samoa supporter in Ōtara last weekend.  [photo: RNZ]
compiled by Samoa News staff


Samoa Airways is ready for its Inaugural flight scheduled for the beginning of next week, Tuesday, November 14, 2017 from Apia to Auckland, NZ.

The Government’s vision of bringing back its own airline through the re-establishment of Polynesian Airlines’ jet services is coming to fruition. Samoa Airways, now as the country’s Flag carrier will finally join the international arena of airways in this modern era of technology both globally and within the Pacific Region, initially with flights between Samoa, NZ and Australia.

An official launch ceremony took place at Faleolo International Airport yesterday (Samoa Time), Monday, Nov.13, at 4pm, with the keynote address delivered by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

 Leading up to the official launch this week, the aircraft arrived on Saturday and before touchdown, it conducted a fly pass from the north-coast of Savai’i, over the islands of Apolima and Manono, along the south-coast of Upolu and onwards to American Samoa before turning back and flying through the north-coast of Upolu, followed by a low pass over Apia before touchdown at Faleolo International Airport.

A special water salute was provided by the Samoa Airport Authority as the aircraft taxied from the runway to the apron-area.

Samoa Airways’ inaugural jet service will be flight OL731 on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from Apia to Auckland: OL731 Depart Apia 0700, Arrive Auckland 1015 OL732 Depart Auckland 1110, Arrive Apia 1605 Bookings are now available online - https://samoaairways. com/

(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)


It was a moment of truth  for Icelandair’s Vice President Halldor Daddi Halldorsson as the Samoa Airways 737-800 Boeing touched down at Faleolo Airport, Saturday afternoon.

For Vice President Halldor the delivery of the aircraft on a wet lease to Samoa vindicates his decision made three years ago to approach government for a partnership after a courtesy call to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi.

And three long years of regular 48 hour flights between Iceland and Samoa as talks between the two parties continued has paid off with the arrival the Boeing 737 which will hopefully be the beginning of a long mutual and beneficial partnership between the two parties.

Icelandair was given less than five months to deliver and it did Saturday with flying Samoa Airway colors to the letter.

Icelandair Group is not new to the region.

It has a successful partnership with Air Niugini which has proven to be catalyst for Papua New Guinea’s international connections and for that country’s booming tourism industry.  Icelandair currently leases five Boeing aircrafts to Air Niugini since their partnership started in 2007.

 Prime Minister Tuilaepa has always kept the doors open for potential and viable partnership to help Samoa’s return to commercial flights with one goal, affordable airfares for Samoans and more seats for tourists.

“The primary target is for our national carrier to be resurrected properly not only as a profit making entity but most importantly to provide affordable airfares for our people and our tourists,” the Prime Minister is quoted constantly in his regular press conferences.

 “I am mindful of the challenges and obstacles and government is looking at all options to realize its targeted mission.

 “A reliable, consistent, affordable air fares and cost effective air services whilst exceeding our stakeholders’ expectation is paramount to government.”

(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)


Samoa Airways has partnered with AirFi to deliver wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE).

Customers can enjoy complimentary movies, tv shows and music onboard by streaming the airline’s ‘Faafiafiaga Entertainment’ channel with their mobile, tablet or laptop:

1. Switch your device to “Airplane mode”;

2. When in “Airplane mode” turn-on your wireless connection only;

3. Connect to “AirFi open” WIFI access point;

 4. Open your web browser and enjoy.

Samoa Airways announced at Future Travel Experience Asia in Singapore that it will deploy AirFi’s portable wireless IFE on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

According to Samoa Airways CEO, Seiuli Alvin Tuala, the IFE system will be a “cornerstone” of the carrier’s plans to modernize and reinvigorate the in-flight experience for passengers, as it relaunches its operations as Samoa Airways this month with a newly-leased Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

 “Mobile devices are an essential part of our lives and naturally our customers want to connect when on board to stream entertainment and travel information,” Seiuli said in a press release.

(Source: Samoa Press Secretariat)


(New Zealand) — An Auckland City councillor says community leaders will be looking at ways to stop rugby league celebrations becoming disorderly — after 53 people were arrested in Ōtāhuhu overnight.

There have been dozens of arrests for brawling and disorderly behavior in South Auckland during the Rugby League World Cup over the past weeks as people took to the streets before and after games.

Police said celebrations following Tonga's rugby league win over the Kiwis last night turned into mass disorder involving drunkenness, violence and gridlocked traffic.

They said some people in the main shopping area of Ōtāhuhu threw fireworks at officers, obstructed roads and footpaths and behaved in a very disorderly manner.

Manukau Ward councillor Efeso Collins said the incident was very troubling and there were still more games to be played in the tournament.

He said setting up a fan zone in the area could help control and manage behavior.

"Everyone wants to be able to express their excitement, but in safe conditions, so I think it is up to those of us who are community leaders [to be] talking with the Rugby League World Cup organizers and saying 'look, let's actually work on something so that we can focus all of this excitement."

Collins said it was likely most of the arrests were just a precautionary measure, to ensure things did not escalate further.

Another Manukau Ward councillor, Alf Filipaina, said he was disgusted by the actions of the people who had spoiled the celebrations for everyone else.

"[These people] don't care about the rugby league, they just want to end up trying to look for fights.

"You know, the violence ... it is just shocking, it is disgusting," he said.

Filipaina said community leaders would continue to call for calm.

(Source: RNZ Inc.)


Researchers in New Zealand using GPS and wearable cameras to track the movements of more than 100 New Zealand school children say kids are becoming less independent, and less active.The research by Otago, Auckland and Harvard universities found children aged 11 to 13 spent more than half their non-school time within 500 meters of home, typically leaving to visit food outlets and friends' places.

Lead researcher Tim Chambers said the findings reflected the current trend of the decreasing independence of children, in part due to less physical activity and fears about neighborhood safety.

"It was a bit shocking for us to see that children were just as likely to go to food retail outlets as they were to sport and recreation settings so with the increasing trends in childhood obesity and the decreasing rates of physical activity I think these settings reflect those trends."

Chambers said on average children visited food retail outlets twice a day, which was concerning given that one third of children here were overweight or obese.

(Source: RNZ Inc.)