Savai'i flights cancelled again
New Samoa Airways flights to and from Savai'i were cancelled on Friday due to a lack of demand, the second time the new inter-island route has been cancelled at the last minute.
The flights, which had been planned to encourage inter-island weekend trips, had been scheduled to leave Upolu at 4pm and return at 7.40am on Monday.
But on Friday night the airline said in a statement that low demand for the service was the reason for its cancellation.
"Samoa Airways has regrettably had to postpone scheduled flight services to Savai’i from today, 11th September until Monday 5th October due to low customer demand for these flights at this time," the statement said.
"The airline looks to now launch these services on Friday 9th October with the possibility of additional services for the White Sunday long weekend."
The flights had been scheduled to begin late last month on 28 August but the airline announced they would be deferred the day before their scheduled departure.
Advertisements for the flights, which were priced at $136 one-way inclusive of tax, had continued up until the day of their scheduled departure on Friday.
In a press release last month, the national carrier stated that the new flight services were designed to offer a fast and convenient travel option between Upolu and Savai’i.
Local tourism operators had expressed hope that the chance for speedier transit to Savai'i would be a drawcard for domestic tourism on the big island.
The opportunity to take cargo consignments was also a selling point emphasised by the national carrier.
“This will avoid the long and strenuous journey via sea," an advertisement for the flight read.
“The service is a good example of our Government’s commitment to improving travel for our own people”.
Samoa Airways says they will be working with local hotel operators on the ground to build weekend packages to support the industry in Savai’i.
On Friday, Leuluaialii was quoted as saying that the flights had a potentially major role to play in promoting Savai'i as not only a destination for domestic tourists but, once the country's international borders opened again, for international tourists, too.
It is not known when the flights are intended to resume but tickets had been available for sale at Samoa Airways Sales Office in Apia and later on through the airline’s website.
For those wishing to buy tickets from Savai’i, customers can call and book through the airline's Apia office and deposit payment into the airline's bank account in Savai’i.