16 Jun 2005

Polynesian Airlines welcomes moves to ease inter Samoa travel

4:37 pm on 16 June 2005

Samoa's establishment of a consulate office in American Samoa has been welcomed by Polynesian Airlines.

The airline has faced a downturn in inter Samoa travel since the immigration standoff between Apia and Pago Pago began.

The office is expected to be opened by the end of this month to facilitate travel between the Samoas.

Polynesian's chief executive Malopaia John Fitzgerald told the Samoa Observer the establishment of such an office will normalise travel between the Samoas particularly from American Samoa and that would be good for airline business.

Malopaia said the best the airline could hope for is for travel to go back to what it used to be.

He pointed to a 5000 passenger downturn in March and April.

He said this was due to the territory tightening entry requirements for travelers from Samoa.

Malopaia is awaiting the May figures to come out.

He said these numbers should provide some indication on the impact the Samoa permit system would have on travelers from the American Samoa.