Five final repatriation flights tentatively scheduled
The Government has confirmed dates for five more flights into Samoa before year's end, including a dedicated charter for citizens in Europe and the United States.
While the dates are “tentatively planned,” they have been distributed to the public as an amendment to the State of Emergency (S.O.E.) orders and signed into law by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Va'aletoa Sualauvi II.
Four flights will run between Auckland and Apia, on Fridays: 30 October, 13 November, 04 December and 11 December.
One dedicated charter flight of 302 passengers will come directly from Los Angeles on Friday 27 November, bringing people back from Europe, North and South America and Hawaii.
The Government says an additional 76 people have registered for the chartered flight from Los Angeles but the plane, an Air New Zealand Boeing 787, cannot accommodate for them.
They will be able to travel home via New Zealand before the end of the year, a Government statement says.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi announced the northern hemisphere repatriation flight this week on his weekly programme with TV3 on Wednesday.
He also said he expects the Friday 11 December flight to be the last one for the year, with passengers then scheduled to leave quarantine right on Christmas Day.
While repatriation flights had initially been slowed down to one every three weeks to allow for a break between quarantine periods, the last five flights for the year are running fortnightly from October to November and weekly in December.
The Government has not said how many people they expect will be flying in altogether, but recent repatriation flights from New Zealand have been at capacity, carrying around 300 passengers per flight.
Returning citizens are only permitted to travel if they have a negative COVID-19 test result within three days in hard copy form, and a signed medical report by a health professional.
Children and elderly with additional needs must be accompanied by an adult.