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The launch of Samoa Airways maiden flight to Auckland today marks a milestone in the island nation’s aviation industry.
And Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the ‘this vision and goal has now been realised after Government made a decision in May/June this year, to withdraw from the Joint venture with Virgin.
He said it was a decision based on sound and well researched studies which pointed to Samoa starting up its own national Airline in Partnership with another regional airline.
“It has taken a very short time for our airline to do what usually takes 24 months to establish and I congratulate the Board and the Management of Samoa Airways for their commitment and fortitude in the face of many obstacles to get the airline up and running so quickly.
“If you look around our region, from Vanuatu to the Solomon’s, Nauru to Kiribati and Tahiti to Fiji, our neighbours have their own national airlines and they have maintained their airlines successfully and profitably. If others can do it why can’t we. Why can’t we. The answer is we can.”
PM Tuilaepa said the new airline has moved into a new era, with new thinking and new ideas, new ways of doing business.
“The past lessons have been well learned and they will not be repeated. We want an airline that is efficient and run professionally. We as a country must embrace what is ours, we must embrace the national carrier and support it. Look at Fiji, Vanuatu the Solomon Islands, Nauru, Tahiti etc. They support their airlines and they have airlines that are not only making money but contribute to the economic growth of their country.”
He said Samoa Airways will be dedicated to using our local products on its flights and will provide a service with a touch of the ‘Faa-Samoa’ hospitality and service.
“Our airline has entered into a partnership with Fiji Airways and will soon provide connectivity through Samoa to the United States on a code share basis. It will partner with Fiji Airways to Asia, Europe and beyond. I thank the CEO of Fiji Airways for your support and assistance in this project.
“This is type of project is something we have been trying to do with other airlines for many years, without any positive response or assistance. In fact services were removed from Samoa as these other carriers were asking us to pay millions in subsidies each year just to come through Samoa, said PM Tuilaepa.
Samoa, he said needs to learn from the successes of Fiji’s national airline.
“Our neighbour Fiji is the best example where they remained with individual bilaterals and their airline posted almost 100 million FJD profits the last financial year. That is impressive for a small island country.”
To the business community, the PM urged them to make use of the national carrier.
“To the thousands of Samoans in New Zealand, Australia and the United States and the world, Support your Samoa owed airline and come home on our national carrier. To all travel agents, thank you for working with the national carrier to get passengers to fly Samoa Airways.”
“The one certainty in all this is that revenue generated by our national carrier will stay in Samoa, it will not be sent overseas. Airlines flying to Samoa are posting close to a billion dollar profits, none of that comes to Samoa. It all stays overseas, said PM Tuilaepa
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