New Airline takes flight

Samoa’s newest commercial airline, Talofa Airways, is taking off today, with the official launch at Fagali’i Airport.

And to celebrate the milestone, the airline, run by Chairman and C.E.O. Tole’afoa Jeffrey Hunter and his wife Maria Westerlund-Hunter, is offering a range of special fares to its customers for flights between Samoa and American Samoa.

Fly from Fagali’i to Pago Pago return for $380 or from Faleolo to Pago Pago return for $447. 

 Today’s launch represents the culmination of many months of planning for the officials behind Samoa’s newest airline.

Earlier this year, the airline acquired two Twin Commander aircrafts from the United States of America. 

Speaking to the Samoa Observer at the time, Tole’afoa admitted that setting up the airline has been a “painful process.”

 “We already have the local certificate to allow operations,” he said.

He said the last part was the approval of a foreign permit from the U.S. and Tonga to allow Talofa to operate scheduled services to those countries. 

 “Those things can take up to months, it’s just a matter of waiting.” 

Toleafoa believes the Twin Commanders are the right sized aircraft for this market.

Asked about the cost of the aircrafts, Toleafoa said it was in the “millions.”

 “Aeroplanes are expensive and have very sensitive equipment,” he said. 

 “Because of the safety we had to make sure that the plane is airworthy to fly and so that it does not compromise the safety of the passengers.  

“It’s a nine-seater and the route will be Tonga and American Samoa and we can look at expanding depending on the beginning (of operation).”

Once Talofa Airways begins flying it will be the third locally operated airline alongside Polynesian Airlines and Samoa Air. The airline is scheduled to operate six–eight flights a day from Fagali’i to American Samoa.

Flying time from Fagalii is just under 20 minutes. Passengers will be allowed two bags with a limit of 44 pounds.

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