Virgin Australia asks for license renewal

Australian-based airline Virgin Australia has applied to the Minister for Works Transport and Infrastructure asking for its license to be renewed to fly between Australia and Samoa. 

The airline published a public notice in yesterday’s edition of the Samoa Observer, pursuant to the Civil Aviation Act 1998, for any written objections to their application to be sent to the Minister.

Samoa’s Government revoked a joint venture agreement with Virgin Australia last year due to increasing public concerns over the rising cost of airfares.  However, the Government granted the airline a license for a direct service between Samoa and Australia but not through New Zealand. 

The Australian-based airline’s application to the Government coincides with the announcement by national airline Samoa Airways of a new direct service between Samoa and Brisbane. The service will commence in November using its 737-800 aircraft and will be twice weekly on Tuesdays and Sundays.

The commencement of the Samoa-Brisbane service will mark the one-year anniversary of the State-owned Samoa Airways.

Currently Virgin Australia, Fiji Airways, Real Tonga Airlines and Air New Zealand are the only foreign-owned airlines that fly into Samoa. In October 2016, China and Samoa signed an air service agreement for direct flights between China and Samoa but Chinese airlines are yet to capitalise on the opportunity.

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