12 Sep 2003

Samoa Air confident of leasing plane from Polynesian

4:24 pm on 12 September 2003

American Samoa-based Samoa Air says its request to lease a Dash 8 Aircraft to serve the territory's remote outer islands is going smoothly.

The Samoa Air CEO, Andre Lavigne, says he has been advised that all that is required is a few documents from the New Zealand company that owns the aircraft.

Travellers from the territory's main island of Tutuila have been severely affected after the grounding of Samoa Air's single aircraft for repairs for up to two months.

Residents of the Manu'a Islands are currently relying on a ship to the main island, an irregular service that is highly weather dependent.

Mr Lavigne's comments come despite Samoa Air's initial failure to lease a plane from National Air because they failed to make the deposit.

American Samoa's Congressman Faleomavega Eni Hunkin also says the lease has run into problems because of the cabotage law which doesn't allow any foreign airlines to service US domestic routes.