Samoa Airways Minister issues reassurance

The Minister of Samoa Airways, Lautafi Fio Purcell, has reassured the public the Government has a "short term plan" beyond next Monday when the wet lease with Italian Airline Neos via Icelandair, from whom its 737-800 aircraft is leased, expires.

Lautafi, who is also the Minister of Public Enterprises, issued the reassurance in response to questions from the Samoa Observer on Thursday.

"Yes the lease expires on the first of April," Lautafi said.

Asked how they are planning to continue the flights when the current aircraft is returned - along with pilots and crew - the Minister said they already have a “short term plan."

"There is no need to worry, we have prepared other aircrafts to accommodate the flights for now, in the short term, while we work on our long term plans for another aircraft.”

The Minister said Samoa Airways has made arrangements with Qantas Airways for an aircraft to service the Airline’s Australian routes – which include Sydney and Brisbane.

He said another aircraft, which he did not name the carrier, would be servicing the Apia Auckland New Zealand route.

The Minister did not elaborate but wanted to reassure members of the public that flights will not be disrupted.

The Samoa Observer understands that the last flight using the 737-800 from Icelandic Air will be on Sunday.

Contacted for a comment, Samoa Airways Marketing Manager, Dwayne Bentley, asked that the questions be sent to him in writing and he would response.

He did not reply by press time.

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