Twin otter returns in November

By Shalveen Chand 11 June 2024, 7:00PM

Samoa Airway’s twin otter aircraft that is being retrofitted in Canada will return in November as the old parts are being removed and new ones fitted.

The aircraft, registered under Samoa Airways as 5W-FAW, is now under the care of Unity Aviation Canada Ltd.

“This week, the crew has commenced the disassembly process, preparing for paint and stripping inspections," said Fauo’o Fatu Tielu, Samoa Airways Chief Executive Officer.

The Unity crew has already removed the engines, props, flight controls, wings, H/Stab, V/Stab, rudder, elevators, interior, and avionics. Currently, the fuel system is being dismantled, and the wings are undergoing paint stripping.

"This marks an exciting milestone for Samoa Airways as we embark on this retrofit project to enhance safety and reliability for our passengers," stated Fauo’o.

Two pilots from Planes and Parts Ltd, a Canadian company contracted by Samoa Airways to fly the aircraft to Calgary, were in Apia last month, collaborating with Samoa Airways engineers and staff to prepare the aircraft for its journey to Canada.

With three additional fuel tanks installed inside the aircraft, the flight took 15 hours directly from Faleolo to Hilo Hawaii, where the crew rested before continuing on to Canada.

The aircraft is expected to return in November, just in time for the busy Christmas season.The next twin otter aircraft is expected to be ferried to Canada next year around February or March 2025.

“The retrofit project, funded by Samoa Airways and loan financing, represents a significant investment that promises a high return, given the extensive mechanical and engineering tasks being carried out by Unity Aviation Canada Ltd while the aircraft is in Canada," stated Fauo’o.

Samoa Airways has an aging fleet. Most of the aircraft are over four decades old and still in operation. Retrofitting is the cheaper option for the airline as there is still reluctance by the government to invest in new aircraft or lease bigger ones.

The government has still not made it clear if a 737 would be purchased to start servicing the Auckland and Nadi routes.



By Shalveen Chand 11 June 2024, 7:00PM
Samoa Observer

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