June targeted for Nadi and Honolulu route codeshares

Samoa and Fiji may have code-share agreements on the Nadi and Honolulu routes in place by June, the Minister for Samoa Airways Lautafi Fio Purcell, revealed on Saturday.

Having returned from Fiji, where he met with Fiji Airways management (without Chief Executive Officer Andre Viljoen, who was absent) Lautafi said he laid out Samoa’s case for starting code-shares on the two routes in May or early June.

He told Government spokesman Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga that he was unhappy that Samoa does not benefit financially from Fiji’s use of the two routes, which is why the Government of Samoa threatened to close the Apia to Nadi route.

“What Samoa was really not happy with, and I made it quite clear, is that Samoa is not getting any money from the routes we allow Fiji to fly, which is Nadi to Apia and Apia to Honolulu.”

He said the Fiji Airways management informed him the two airlines technical systems are not compatible, which delayed any code-sharing agreements in the past, despite agreements allegedly being signed in 2018. 

“Up to now, nothing had really happened. They are saying it’s from our end, we’re saying it’s from your end, so there is a mismatch of information,” Lautafi said.

“They are saying our system is too old, that their system is much more modern, and maybe they are right. But there was no push from Fiji to get this codeshare going, so we were left to pick up the pieces with the system we have.

“Anyway, we agreed that now that Samoa’s systems will be upgraded in March, next week they will start matching the system to Fiji’s system, and we agreed that both airlines will work on the code-share.

“We are waiting now for them to consider what we spoke about and send us a ‘yes that’s a good arrangement’ or ‘no.’”

In October 2019, the recently appointed General Manager Commercial for Samoa Airways Leauluaiali’i Robert Rounds said it could take a between nine to 12 months to get Samoa’s system up to scratch to connect with other airlines and offer more route to its customers.

“[It] comes with a price tag,” he told the Samoa Observer.

“Not everything is cheap and we are a start-up carrier so we have got to strategically work towards how we can get to that global distribution system and some of these implementations can take nine to 12 months.”

Five months later, Lautafi said the two carriers can be technically aligned by May or early June at the latest, and the code-share can begin.

“That is where we left it and we asked them to send us what they think. If they are happy with getting the code-share going [as soon as possible] then for now they can continue the Apia to Nadi route.”

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