Fagali’i Airport closing date confirmed
The Fagali’i International Airport will shut down on the final day of the year, the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, has confirmed.
The Ministry of Police will take over on the 1 January, 2020.
“All the flights will operate out of Faleolo International Airport and, as I said many times in the past, it’s for safety reasons we have opted to shut down this Airport," the Minister said.
"The Fagali’i Airport has failed to meet international standards and, for safety reasons, it must be closed down and handed over to the Ministry of Police."
He said the Faleolo Airport has been certified and it meets international aviation requirements.
Papali’i said another issue is that this is the gateway for drugs to be smuggled into the Country.
“We don’t have Canines sniffing around Fagalii all the time, they’re there when they can but not all the time, unlike Faleolo the Canines are there all the time. The smuggling of drugs via borders through the airport will be minimized,” said Papali’i.
The Minister downplayed the complaints about the distance.
“I’d rather drive all the way to Faleolo and have a safe trip to American Samoa, than Fagali’i where it is unsafe and the landing strip is deteriorating,” he reminded.
The Fagali’i Airport will be turned into a vehicle test driving range and registration inspection site is part of the Samoa government's broader efforts to address the rising road toll.
Last week the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, said this when explaining the rationale behind the Government's decision to shut the airstrip and move air services to the bigger Faleolo International Airport.
He said he had concerns about the growing road toll and incidences of drunk and reckless driving.
The Prime Minister said that commercial drivers can could the facility to undergo driving tests once the site is converted and opened.
Tuilaepa reiterated that others should be held accountable for the rising toll.