Polynesian Airlines' debt that nearly “bankrupted” the government has been paid off.
That’s the response from Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, to questions from the Sunday Samoan.
Asked about the status of old Polynesian Airlines debt, he said: “It has been paid off. There is nothing (left).”
The Prime Minister wouldn’t say how much the debt was and when it was paid.
But he diverted the conversation to the government’s relationship with Virgin Australia.
He said Virgin owes the government some money and he has asked that it be paid.
“The only issue that I recall is my recent letter to Virgin Australia on the status of the money they borrowed from us when they were short of funds,” Tuilaepa said.
“They borrowed money from us some time ago to help out with their operation when they were short of money.”
Again, the Prime Minister wouldn’t divulge how much and under what conditions was the money lent.
It was not possible to get a comment from Virgin Australia at press time last night.
Samoa and Virgin Australia were partners in a joint venture to run Virgin Samoa.
The relationship has ended.
Asked whether Virgin Australia has responded to his letter, Tuilaepa said: “no not yet”.
Pressed on the cost of the leasing of the Samoa Airways aircraft from Icelandic Air, Tuilaepa said he would have to get the figures from the C.E.O., Seiuli Alvin Tuala.
He said those details should come from the C.E.O. as they are not the sort of figures that a Prime Minister can give “off the top of his head.”
He said the government will issue statement about the matter.