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House holds hearing on Samoa Airways 100% fare hike for Manu’a

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The decision by Samoa Airways to increase its fares for Manu’a without any prior announcement disappointed representatives from Manu’a. All three Manu’a faipule spoke about the issue during a House Session this week and demanded a hearing with Port Administration Director and Samoa Airways CEO (Chief Executive Director) Seiuli Alvin Tuala.

Manu’a Representatives Fetu Fetui Jr; Vesi Talalelei Fautanu Jr and Tiaoalii Fau Sai said they learned about the significant fare increase from constituents the day before and they want an immediate response from Samoa Airways.

Vesi said he was very disappointed when he heard about the fare increase because his constituents cannot afford the high fare increase from $90 to $187 for one-way only. He told House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale that the only way to stop the fare increase for Manu’a is to pass a House Joint Resolution.

Vesi also requested a hearing with the Director of Port of Administration Taimalelagi Dr.  Claire Poumele to come and explain to them the reason for the fare increase without any prior announcement to inform people of Manu’a.

Rep. Tiaoalii echoed Vesi’s statement and told the chamber that he conducted his own investigation regarding the fare increase and found out that the decision came straight from Samoa.

He further stated that they also need to question the American Samoa Coronavirus Task Force about the issue, and to see if there’s any fund from the COVID-19 Relief Fund to take care of the problem for Manu’a.

Vice Speaker of the House, Fetui Jr also expressed his disappointment about the high fare increase. He said that a one way fare which was $90 is now $182.50 and he has receipts from a traveler who paid that fare this week to fly to Manu’a.

Fetui Jr said that he spoke with the local station manager for Samoa Airways Toe Loia who said that the fare increase was implemented by their headquarters in Samoa. Fetui Jr further stated that the local manager was apologetic and he’s trying to persuade their manager to reconsider the fare hike.

Fetui Jr said the fare hike for Manu’a is a more than 100% increase and it’s something that affects his people because not every family can afford the increase.

The House is scheduling a hearing with the CEO of Samoa Airways Seiuli Alvin Tuala, members of the Coronavirus Task Force and the Director of Commerce regarding the fare hike this morning at 8:30a.m.