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Samoa Airways debuts in Auckland

Samoa’s delegation receiving the traditional Maori welcome to Auckland.  Pictured are Prime Minister Tuilaepa  Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi with Cabinet Minister of Polynesian Airlines Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell and Board Chairman Feesago Fepuleai; Board Members - General Manager Seiuli Alvin Tuala, AG Lemalu Herman Retzlaff, CEOs Agafili Shem Leo Prime Minister and Cabinet,  Samoa Tourism Authority Papalii Sonya Hunter, STA Board Chairperson Adele Kruse, Samoa’s head of mission to New Zealand; and Hi
Source: Samoa Press Secretariat

With the Auckland-Faleolo international route generating revenues in the neighborhood of NZ$50-to NZ $60 million a year, government is heedful that Samoa Airways has a fighting chance to survive the grueling dog eat dog international air services competition.

The promising lucrative revenues coupled with being double-crossed by its partners in the airline industry have prompted government to say enough is enough.

It has also incited confidence in government to launch its rebranded Samoa Airways (formerly Polynesian Airlines) in the international arena zooming in to the Faleolo-Auckland route.

At the exclusive all Samoan community event at the Maota o Samoa’s Consulate Office in Mangere Auckland Tuesday evening to launch the rebranded Samoa Airways return to the international limelight, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi reassured Samoans in New Zealand and worldwide that the buck stops here with the return of Samoa Airways as the country’s flag carrier. And he reminisced on past shortcomings by the national carrier and the lessons by government.

“We will no longer be taken for a ride when it comes to affordable airfares for our people to commute,” reaffirms the Prime Minister.

“Our past shortcomings are regrettable and your government has learned a treasure to come to the conclusion that the fate of our national carriers is in our hands,” continued the Prime Minister.

 “But for Samoa Airways to survive, it’s a must for us to clean up our act.

“Samoa Airways will operate on cash up front basis, (similar to pre-paid cash power and mobile phone credit systems) without exceptions.

“We have learned from past experiences that giving credit to our Men of the Cloth to fly fundraising groups to New Zealand and even MPs to fly supporters overseas were the demise of our the old airline. Rest assured when I say this, that practice of the old will no longer be accepted.”

On that note, the Prime Minister is calling on his countrymen and women to support Samoa Airways to survive.

“Samoa Airways represents more than just tourists who can afford to pay airfares to visit Samoa and inject fresh cash into our economy.

“It translates to food on the table for handicraft vendors, taxi and bus drivers, farmers, accommodation stakeholders and a range of our tourism service providers not to mention new employment for hundreds of school graduates,” he added, noting that tourism revenues is the main of Samoa’s economy.

A few hiccups did happen during the inaugural flight out of New Zealand — one is that boarding passes were handwritten, which led Samoa Airway’s General Manager Seiuli Alvin Tuala to say in answer to criticism that “Rome was not built overnight”.

He said, “It’s a teething problem and it’s being dealt with. We should alleviate the setback as soon as possible and remove any inconvenience to our passengers and travelling public.”

But what is important is that Samoa has an airline of her own to be proud of, Seiuli added. “This is your airline and we must appreciate that sense of ownership that Samoa Airways is 150% Samoan and for Samoans.

“We deeply need your support and patience,” the GM said.