Uncertainty over future of Samoa Helicopters

By Mathias Huckert 17 August 2016, 12:00AM

The future of Samoa Helicopters Company remains uncertain.

While the lone helicopter remains at Mulinu’u, slowly rusting no thanks to the nearby coastal breeze, attempts to get an update from the people behind the company have proven futile.

Emails sent to the owner, Rodger McCutcheon were not responded to at press time.

Phone calls to the Samoa Helicopters rescue hotline were not answered either.

But questions from members of the public are mounting about the future of a venture that started off with a bang – given Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi’s ringing endorsement – just before the March General Election.

For a couple of months after, the company appeared to have been warmly received with the helicopter being used for tours, a wedding and a rescue mission in Savai’i.

That was until a sometime ago when the helicopter suddenly stopped flying.

Yesterday, the small office next to Sail’s Restaurant in Apia is still arranged as it was back in April, except the helicopter has not moved for a long time now.

When McCutcheon founded what should have been the country’s first air rescue service, the atmosphere was positive.

 Since then, things have grown quiet about the company’s whereabouts. 

Asked for a comment in June when the operation first halted, Mr. McCutcheon remained upbeat.

“Things are progressing well for the Samoa Helicopters operation,” he said.

He explained then that the helicopter was “going through a change of ownership, [and] it will be owned and registered in Samoa […] flown by New Zealand pilots and Samoan paramedics.”

According to some of his recent updates on social media platforms, Mr. McCutcheon promised that when Samoa Helicopters return, the service would be “even better than it was before.”

But all of these promises were made months ago.

By Mathias Huckert 17 August 2016, 12:00AM

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