The Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell has leapt to the defence of the Samoa Airways logo following criticism and numerous public complaints.
Citing costs and priority spending, Lautafi reassured the public that they will change their opinions once they see it on the tail of the plane.
The logo of Samoa’s new international airline was revealed two weeks ago and it is a picture of a coconut tree.
Responding to the Sunday Samoan questions, Lautafi said: “We don’t have money to spend on expensive aircraft paint. We are saving those funds for operation costs."
However the logo on the airplane will be much more effective and eye catching than the logo itself, once it’s painted on our newly-leased plane.
“Regardless of what people are nagging and complaining about, they will have a different opinion once this logo is slapped onto the tail of the plane."
“The coconut, signifies the Pacific. Although our national flower is the teuila, but we have opted for the coconut, because this showcases all of the Pacific Islands."
“We want to portray the Pacific and attract more tourists, because in their minds, they want to hang under swinging palm trees and that is our coconut trees."
“No one knows what a Teuila is, so again, it’s all about prioritizing what is more important and that is to provide an adequate service to our people through our new airline."
“We cannot do that if we spend $100,000 USD on one paint, because that is how much it cost,” said the Minister.
Lautafi reiterated, “We would rather spend money in the service department than to try and please everyone who is complaining about the plain looking logo.”
He told the Sunday Samoan, the airplane is leased and once the lease expires, they have to repaint the whole plane back to its original colour and again, the costs are relatively high.
“So we don’t want to spend so much money on it,” he said.
The Minister admitted that an explanation should have been offered to the public regarding the concept of the logo, however due to time constraints, they didn’t do that.
The Minister also confirmed Samoa Airways tickets are currently up for sale. Samoa Airway’s first international flight taking to the skies on 12 November, 2017.
An official with Samoa Airways told the Sunday Samoan the minimum cost of a one colour paint job for a 737 will run in excess of $150,000 USD. Aircraft paints are highly specialized and cannot be compared to the paint used to paint vehicles or buildings.
“These paints are applied to the exteriors and are designed to be airborne."
“There are also aircraft pre-treatments, topcoat / basecoat / clear coat paints, primers etc. things the public don’t understand about yet they are complaining too much. These are issues they have no clue about,” said the Samoa Airways official.
As reported earlier, the logo which acknowledges the airline’s origins and links, features an adapted version of the iconic coconut tree which since 1959 had been the symbol of the National Carrier.
In a press statement issued by Samoa Airways, claims they are the first and still the only carrier in the South Pacific to use the coconut tree in their branding.
“In the past, copra was a key part of Samoa’s economy and today the humble coconut and its numerous value-added by-products together with tourism, play a vital role in Samoa’s social and economic development."
“For Samoans, the coconut tree has its many uses and like the growth trajectory of the ‘tree of life’, it also represents the resilience and versatility of Samoans to punch above their weight and proudly take their place on the global stage.
“To visitors, the coconut tree invokes images of warm tropical weather, beautiful beaches and a luxuriant Pacific environment which Samoa has in abundance.
“Combined with its age-old culture and way of life, it’s these simple pleasures and authentic experiences which draw many visitors to Beautiful Samoa.”
These key elements provide the basis for Samoa Airways’ aspirations which are to build a solid foundation for the National Airline enabling it to compete successfully on the global stage, to connect the global Samoan diaspora to the ‘motherland’ and to be a major player in driving tourism growth, in collaboration with key partners, through the promotion of Samoa as a premium visitor destination.
The airline’s logo prominently features ‘SAMOA’ and uses the three colours of the Samoan flag.