Samoa Airways obtains a loan to pay staff; Fagali’i will reopen


Samoa Airways (OL, Apia Faleolo) will take out a bank loan to pay severance pay to staff made redundant in 2021, Public Enterprises Minister Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo told the Samoa Observer.

Leatinu’u stressed that the loan would only be used to compensate staff who were unable to work and received only part of their due remuneration in 2021, but not those who were affected in 2020. The Samoan flag carrier has reduced its operations to a minimum during the country’s long border closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pacific archipelago did not resume relatively unrestricted international travel until August 1, 2022.

The airline has reduced its fleet to just three DHC-6-300s (one of which is currently inactive and needs maintenance), abandoning plans to add an in-house B737-800 despite the 16 million WST tala fine (5.9 million USD). he had to pay Carlyle Aviation Partners.

However, as international travel resumes, the Samoan government plans to reopen Apia Fagali’i, a closed airfield that serves the Samoan capital but closed in late 2019 when all services were transferred to Apia Faleolo Airport. However, Leatinu’u stressed that reopening the old facility would be key to reviving ties between Samoa and American Samoa, a neighboring US territory.

“At the moment, there is little [non-scheduled] flights operating from Faleolo. Hopefully with the reopening of Fagali’i we will have two to three flights to help our people travel,” the minister said.

Transport Minister Olo Fiti Vaai said preparatory work was already underway and a representative from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority is currently in Samoa to confirm Fagali’s safety and compliance. i. However, reopening the airport will still require cabinet approval. Olo pointed out that business communities in both Samoa have been lobbying the government to reopen Fagali’i airport.

Samoa Airways operated scheduled services between Apia and Pago Pago in American Samoa, as well as domestic services within the latter linking Pago Pago with Fitiuta and Ofu. All Samoa Airways operations to and within American Samoa were suspended in July 2020 due to COVID travel restrictions.


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