Samoa's proposal designed to revive talks between airlines - PM

The proposal to end direct flights between Fiji and Samoa was designed to bring Fiji Airways to the discussion table with struggling Samoa Airways, says Samoa's prime minister.

A Cabinet decision paper was leaked to the Samoa Observer proposing to close the route, serviced by Fiji Airways, down and force passengers to fly via New Zealand using Samoa Airways.

However, this week the government newspaper Savali reported Tuilaepa saying the decision was to promote proactive talks between the two airlines and revive discussions about a code-sharing agreement that had never been implemented.

"Cabinet's intervention is to ensure that the discussions resume between the management of Fiji Airways and Samoa Airways, especially when we are facing daunting challenges with reduced travels as a result of the coronavirus restricting travel opportunities between Samoa and the outside world," Tuilaepa said.

"We are only a one work-horse airline, Fiji has many, so it is quite possible that Fiji is not treating our airline on an equal basis. We want to ensure that if the agreement does not work, then we move ahead and reschedule our routes."