Samoa Airways

Samoa Airways terminates lease for unwanted B737-800

5W-TFL (msn 42805) was leased by the previous government in mid-2021 and was set to become Samoa Airways' first in-house narrowbody aircraft. However, on coming to power, the new administration immediately warned that it saw no need for the lease and moved to terminate it. The aircraft was only ferried as far as Brisbane Int'l, and although it was registered in Samoa, it never once landed on the island. It was deregistered and ferried back to Montpellier in early 2022, even as discussions about compensation for the early termination of the lease were ongoing.

Samoa Airways to take out loan to pay for redundancies

Minister for Public Enterprises, Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo, said the airline's interim board decided to pay staff with the loan and other sources.

Leatinu'u said the interim board made the decision to pay workers in full but it is only back-dated to 2021 and it doesn't include 2020.

Samoa Airways staff were impacted by covid-19 border closures and were only able to get half their pay entitlements.

Meanwhile, Leatinu'u said the company is looking for workers to carry out cargo handling work at the Faleolo airport as the airline returns to full operation.

Samoa Government saves 90 per cent on cost of leased aircraft

Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour, Leatinuu Wayne Fong told Parliament recently that the government will fortunately be paying only $16million to the leasing company.

He added that negotiations are ongoing on the remaining discussions and negotiations needed for the deal.

An interim committee has been selected to work on these negotiations as well as making strategic plans in rebuilding the Samoa Airways company.


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Call for Samoa airline re-think

The Samoa Government earlier this year canceled a lease of a 737-800 Boeing due to its accumulated debt of tens of millions of dollars.

But Muagututi'a says Samoa is in the position where it needs a plane, so it can bring in its people at its choosing while providing competitive airfares.

He says during his term with Samoa Airways they had developed plans but a lack of funding meant they didn't eventuate.


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Samoa govt close to ending Boeing 737-800 aircraft contract

Minister of Public Enterprises Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo has told Parliament that negotiations with Fly Aircraft Holdings Eighteen Limited are close to ending and estimated that 90 percent of public funds will be saved from returning the aircraft.

He said it was originally predicted that 160 million tālā would be lost by cancelling the lease.

Leatinu'u said the government hopes to restructure the national airline to ensure it makes a profit, instead of accumulating debts that will place a further burden on the country.


Samoa airways no longer flying long-haul

Samoa Tourism Authority's Acting CEO Kitiona Pogi said Samoa Airways no longer flies between Apia and Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

These routes were available prior to the pandemic which closed Samoa's borders in March 2020.

Pogi said the airline continues to provide inter-island flights between Samoa and American Samoa.

Meanwhile, Samoa Airways outgoing Board Chairman, Muagututi'a Lafaele Ngau Chun, is disappointed at the manner he and his two fellow board members were relieved of their appointments last week.

Samoa Airways sends replacement pilots for Manu'a flights to resume

Flights were suspended from Monday of last week after one of the two pilots operating flights to Manu'a tested positive for Covid.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020 the American Samoa Government has been leasing a Twin Otter with pilots and mechanic support to operate flights to the Manu'a islands.

An airline official in Apia says the delay is because the airline ran short of pilots who are Covid free and/or are still up to date with their flying hours.

Tuilaepa concerned about plane lease cancellation

He said he is concerned about how easy it was for the FAST government to cancel the lease and incur 180 million tālā in penalty costs.

Tuilaepa blames FAST's reliance on the advice of former Attorney-General Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu.

The senior lawyer said in a report that the leasing of the plane breached company rules because it was insolvent.

In announcing the cancellation of the lease last week, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said the company was bankrupt and the best thing to do was to cancel the lease and look at a full audit of it's operations.

Samoa Airways seeks funds for airworthiness of plane


Leatinuu Wayne Sooialo says Samoa Airways is asking the Unit Trust of Samoa for $6million tālā (US$2.3million) to continue the checks so the plane can be allowed to operate commercially.

Leatinu'u was reacting to claims by the former Minister for Private Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell, that the airline could be making money by utilising the plane to operate the many repatriation flights being operated by QANTAS, Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways.

Samoa Airways financial woes under investigation

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo, is chairing a special Cabinet committee looking into Samoa Airways' failure to produce annual financial statements.

A report by the Ministry of Public Enterprises last month showed losses of more than US$14-million (37-million tālā) over the last two financial years after the global pandemic closed borders.

The Samoa Observer reports Leatinu'u saying some necessary action will be taken in due course.