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Samoa Airways seeks renewal of cabotage exemption

Samoa Airways logo

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Apia-based Samoa Airways on Jan. 7 filed with the U.S. Transportation Department (USDOT) an application for renewal of its cabotage exemption to continue flight operations between Tutuila and the Manu’a island group.

According to the Samoa government owned airline, the current exemption expires Jan. 27 and that without renewal of this exemption, Samoa Airways will be forced to suspend all service linking the Manu’a Islands with Tutuila.

Samoa Airways remains one of the only carriers willing and able to transport passengers and cargo between Pago Pago and the Manu’a Islands, according to the application, noting that ASG has requested the airline provide emergency service to prevent American Samoan residents from being left with little or no air service for the Manu’a island group.

Samoa Airways said it will continue to operate three to five weekly flights depending on the needs of island residents and shippers and aircraft availability as well as medical evacuation and other emergency flights as needed — and that additional flights will be scheduled if needed. Flights will be operated with Samoa Airways’ 19-seat Twin Otter aircraft.

The request is for 12-months and a USDOL decision is pending.