Samoa expected to get replacement aircraft very soon.

The Government is working hard to get a Samoa Airways aircraft replacement by the end of the week, says Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour, Lautafi Fio Purcell. 

Speaking during an interview with Samoa Observer, he said they are "working as quickly as we can" as some things are out of their control.

"We just want to reassure the people that we are working as quickly as we can under the circumstances because some of these things aren’t in our control.    

"Like the requirements of Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand," he said.

Lautafi, who is also the Minister for Public Enterprises, confirmed that the replacement aircraft is a Boeing 737-800NG from Malindo Air, a Malaysian premium airline which Samoa is leasing the airline from for about six months.

"Only when they are satisfied with requirements of the Malindo aircraft, as Malindo Air does not fly to New Zealand. They fly to Australia, so we're not worried about Australia because they know the airline, so it's just New Zealand.

"We’ve given them all the information, so then they have to go through everything, as they aren’t just one or two pages; you're looking at thick manuals, four to five manuals.

"Which usually takes up to three months but they’re working really hard to try and assist us in this matter so that they can quickly give us their approval for our aircraft to fly there," he said.

The Minister reiterated that Samoa should be getting its replacement aircraft by the end of this week.

"By this time next week everything will be fine, I'm pretty sure.

"We can’t do anything unless they approve the safety of the plane to land there and even take off from New Zealand, and I’ve just spoken to the CEO, he's very confident that with their agreements with the CAA, we should be getting our aircraft this Thursday or Friday," he added. 

According to a recent Samoa Airways press release, the national carrier and Malindo Air continue to work collaboratively. A team from Malindo Air recently completed an audit of Samoa Airways' operations as a part of joint efforts between the two airlines.

Lautafi also appealed to the public to have more confidence in the national carrier as it belongs to the country. 

"We are trying under the circumstances and current resources.

"I think people always see us and compare us to Air New Zealand and Virgin, but we've only started and we only have one airline and I think considering, we haven't done too bad in the last year and a bit that we've been flying.

"I think people didn't really give us much chance of survival till now, and I think we have survived and improved; and it can be done if everyone comes together to support our airline as well as efforts of our Government to have our own aircraft," he added. 

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