Samoa Airways looks to new planes, routes

Another plane and two more routes are on the cards for Samoa Airways by the end of the year, Minister Lautafi Fio Purcell has said, following negotiations with Fiji Airways over two code-share agreements.

Last week, Samoa Airways and Fiji Airways met following Samoan Government threats to close the Apia to Nadi route, which was later revealed to be a tactic by the Samoan side to provoke talks on sharing benefits from the route.

But in an interview with the Government media published on Saturday, Lautafi said by the end of the year Samoa Airways hopes to acquire another plane and fly to Nadi and Honolulu itself, potentially removing the need for a codeshare agreement at all.

“The bottom line is we are planning to take over the Apia-Honolulu route from the end of this year,” he said.

He said there are plans to purchase a plane from Aerei da Trasporto Regionale (A.T.R.), which is a European aircraft manufacturer. It makes two planes, the ATR 42-600 and the ATR 72-600, which are 48 and 70 seater planes.

“If we get the ATR and we want to fly to Fiji then we can let go of the code-share and they can fly and we can share the air space,” said Lautafi.

“We have to relook at our current destinations this year and rearrange some of the flights [or] cut down the number of flights to Auckland, Sydney or Brisbane. 

“That needs to be worked out before the official decision to take over. There is planning to be done, but that is the Government’s plan long term to take over these routes.”

“Then we will do the Apia-Honolulu-Apia and Tonga-Auckland, Auckland-Tonga-Apia-Honolulu once a week to start off with.”    

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