“The New Zealand Government has been very consistent in terms of assisting Pacific Forum countries like Samoa to update and modernized our airport security systems and equipment,” said SAA General Manager, Magele Hoe Viali.
He noted that over the years, the funding mechanism has provided the latest screening equipment and technologies to improve aviation security at the Faleolo International Airport.
“Just recently, through the same funding source, the SAA procured state of the art equipment which has resulted in the lifting of the ban on laptops on commercial flights imposed by our US counterparts. (Hawaii),” Magele said.
“SAA staff capacity building has also benefitted from the same assistance for many years.”
In announcing the grant funding in Apia last week during the 48th Pacific Island Leaders Forum, the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee reiterated that the funding will ensure that no one will use the region for terrorism actions and disrupt Pacific developments.
“New Zealand is aware that the Pacific is under resourced hence the move to provide funds to upgrade the Pacific. The screening initiatives will not only be for New Zealanders passing through, but there are also those transiting in and out of the Pacific,” Brownlee said.
A releases from Samoa Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said the announcement by the NZ Minister was a direct result of requests for assistances from Pacific Forum Islands like Samoa, Tonga, Cook Island, Vanuatu, Solomon Is etc.
“The NZ Pacific Security Fund (PSF) has continued for many years now to finance Aviation Security specialized capacity building programs and equipment upgrades,” explained Magele.
“The PSF was administered by Avsec NZ and the NZ Civil Aviation Authority, but has been transferred to the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The Pacific Islands Aviation Security providers have continued to benefit from the PSF, and the announcement of this new proposed aid will greatly improve the screening of passengers for Pacific Islands.
“It includes the latest equipment and technology and will also standardize all of the screening training and processes used by Pacific Islands,” Magele concluded.
Photo by Loop Samoa. Caption: Faleolo International Airport, Samoa