Permanent solution sought for airline deal

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 02 May 2016, 12:00AM

The President of French Polynesia has said that he welcomes the prospect of an agreement between Air Tahiti Nui and the Polynesian Airlines.

This could lead to the possibility of flights to other parts of the world. 

However, Tagaloa Edouard Fritch is more interested in finding a “permanent solution” for the project. 

That ‘permanent solution’ may need to take into account his views on governments running an airline.

The President said from his experience it’s been proven to be very difficult for a government to run an airline. 

He said the private companies are always encouraged to come in while government is there to offer support.

A Memorandum of Understanding between Polynesian Airlines and A.T.N. was signed last year to open Samoa up to Asia, North America and Europe directly.  And during the title bestowment of Tagaloa, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the President he was anxious to work together with the Air Tahiti airline. 

“I hope we can have some kind of agreement of regular flights between our countries to improve our contact,” said Tuilaepa. 

“Remember in the past we had more direct contact and I hope to revive and resume that.”

 Tagaloa welcomed the request from Tuilaepa.  “We are discussing it and also asking New Zealand to join us to find a solution for a good and permanent project,” said the President. 

“It’s not a new project; it existed in 1970 with an old (airline) company. I’m positive that this project can be built if we have the will to do it. This will enforce our relationship in the South Pacific and it shows that interest in economic development and mainly for tourism.” Tagaloa also pointed out the intention to go through other Pacific islands. 

“This is the key. This airline can make a better development and make a better relationship between our countries.”

Furthermore, a smaller plane of 140 seats would be an ideal start for the flights to San Francisco or Los Angeles considering the population in the Pacific. 

Tagaloa was due to depart from Samoa yesterday afternoon.  

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia 02 May 2016, 12:00AM

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