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Samoa Airways has signed a dry lease with Air Lease Corporation for a new Boeing 737-Max 9 aircraft.
It will replace the current Boeing 737-800, which is owned by Iceland Air.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Samoa Airways Chairman, Fe’esago Siaosi Fepulea’i and Steven F.Udvar-Házy CEO of ir Lease Corporation signed the deal in Apia Wednesday.
Udvar-Házy told the Samoa Observer the dry lease is for five years and depending on the time of the year, the lease rate could be anywhere between US$300,000 to US$500,000 (T$750,000 to $1.25 million tala) a month.
“The dry lease is for five years and it depends on the time of the year, as different months they have different level of passenger flows,” he said.
“It’s approximately $300,000 to $500,000 USD, which is cheaper than what they have now.
“It’s a dry lease, it means we will not provide the crew, and it is all Samoan crews. But we arrange to train extra pilots and extra engineers and flight attendants supervisors, and will be completely operated by the airline.”
The Air Lease Corporation is a leading aircraft leasing company, which is principally engaged in purchasing commercial aircraft and leasing them airline customers worldwide.
According to Udvar-Házy, this is not the first time his company has done business with Samoa Airways.
“Since the year 2000 Samoa has changed, you have developed a lot and the economy has grown and the competition has grown among the airlines.
“It is a competitive market and it requires the most modern, most economical, the most fuel efficient aircraft to serve your customers — when one looks at Samoa air transportation is really critical because its primary motive of travel for business, family leisure to and from Samoa,” he added.
The Boeing 737-Max 9 is the largest member of the 737 Max families, added Udvar-Házy.
“This aircraft in an all economy configuration can accommodate 220 passengers which includes and it is equipped with 16 luxurious business class seats; and 173 economies and 189 passenger capacities.”
He said the new aircraft has a 20 per cent more cargo and belly capacity for baggage and cargo.
The arrival of the new aircraft was won praise from Fe’esago, who said the progress of the national airline is tremendous, knowing that it has been through challenges since its re-launching.
“We have been very fortunate we have the leadership that we have, the Prime Minister and our Minister (Lautafi Selafi Purcell) as also the Cabinet and the Board.
“We have a very good board and their thinking is very progressive and for us this is a great addition to our fleet and there is so much that needs to be done and we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
In the meantime, Tuilaepa said the airline’s second aircraft — which the Government announced recently — will arrive in June this year in time for the 2019 Pacific Games..
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSEVER/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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