Samoa Airport Authority (S.A.A.) has washed its hands clean of any responsibility over an incident at the Faleolo International Airport where passengers were locked out of the terminal.
Over 100 passengers were forced to enter the terminal through the airport’s old departure lounge, as the door into the new terminal was locked and airport staff could not find a contractor with the spare keys.
It is understood a power outage forced the doors shut, resulting in the passengers waiting for over an hour before getting assistance. The new terminal and its facilities was opened in May this year and was given a $147 million facelift funded by the People’s Republic of China.
S.A.A. Chief Executive Officer, Magele Hoe Viali, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer said the contractor Shanghai Construction Group will manage the airport facilities until May next year when it is handed to the Samoan government.
According to Magele, the S.A.A cannot fix faults at the airport until the liability period has ended and the facility handed back to the Samoan Government.
“If we do and something is damaged, Shanghai Construction Group will not replace it. Overseeing means we oversee but Shanghai Construction Group still fixes faults during this period,” he said.
In relation to the power outage, the C.E.O. said there are three standby generators which should kick in 15 seconds after failure by the main supplier.
“The Electricity Power Corporation’s main was interrupted but came back on before the Generators were supposed to start. This had caused a temporary lock down which was reset by Shanghai Construction Group engineers. The S.A.A. engineers have been trained but terminal project with one year liability period, so Shanghai Construction Group is still responsible until 10th May 2019 for terminal equipment faults,” he said.
Shanghai Construction Group and E.P.C. did not respond to emails and phone calls sent made by this newspaper.