Samoan govt hopes to have national carrier fully operational again

The Samoan government is looking at having the national carrier operating internationally again within two to three years.

Samoa media reports the move to get Samoa Airways back flying internationally was revealed by Minister for Public Enterprises, Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo, in announcing the final payment of $US1.6 million to sever a Boeing 737-800 lease agreement with an overseas company totalling $US4.6 million.

Samoa Airways no longer operates long-haul flights to Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland - traditionally its primary sources of passengers and freight.

Leatinu'u said four airlines currently service the Australia, New Zealand, Fiji routes and the government is looking at seat sharing arrangements with some of them.

Meanwhile, the National Airline is shifting its focus on the Apia-Pago Pago route with its Twin Otter planes, while the Samoa government works to reopen Fagalii Airport.

The route is also serviced by privately-owned Talofa Airways.

Leatinu'u said the interim board will be handling any possible joint ventures for Samoa Airways which will continue ground handling operations.