26 Aug 2003

American Samoa district calls for government help for Samoa Air

1:42 pm on 26 August 2003

The District Governor of the Manu'a Islands in American Samoa says the government needs to act to offset the loss of flights to the main island of Tutuila.

Galeai Tuufuli says the suspension of Pago Pago-based Samoa Air's services will have a negative effect on the outer islands because they have come to rely on its flights for the past decade.

He says the governor Togiola Tulafono is negotiating with authorities in Washington for a waiver of the cabotage rule which bans domestic flights by foreign airlines.

Samoa-based Polynesian Airlines is looking at filling the gap left by Samoa Air but the rule prevents it from doing so.

However Galeai says the government should also look at buying Samoa Air.

"If they can find it beneficial to become a part-owner of Samoa Air since they have the licence and the aircraft I would suggest the government and the members of the legislature to consider."

Galeai M. Tuufuli