Air link to Manu’a Islands not a priority for FAA

The airlines owners Chris & June Langton infront of the Spirit of Savai'i Britten Islander

The airlines owners Chris & June Langton infront of the Spirit of Savai’i Britten Islander

Alan Ah Mu

APIA: TUESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2013: The previous American Samoan government wanted it, same with the new administration.

So does Samoa Air.

They all want Samoa Air to provide flights to the islands of Manu’a, American Samoa.

Months though have passed since an application for approval for such a service was lodged with the authority concerned, the United States’ Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

“It’s a very technical process and it’s been made more difficult because FAA is short staffed,” said Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Air, Chris Langton.

For the part of new governor of American Samoa, Lolo Matalasi Moliga and his staff, “They’re really keen for us to do this,” Langton said.

Lolo is from Ta’u which together with Ofu are the two islands in the Manu’a group where Samoa Air will fly to once permission arrives.

Lolo’s predecessor as governor, Togiola Tulafono, backed Samoa Air’s application.

From the start of its services with flights between the islands of Upolu and Savai’i mid-last year, the Apia-based airline revealed its ambitions were regional, not only local.

Samoa Air has also applied to provide flights to the islands of northern Tonga and northern Cooks – and is keen on Tokelau as well.

Its’ fleet consists of a Cessna 172 and two Islander aircraft.

They provide an air taxi service between Upolu and Savai’i.

State-owned Polynesian is the second airline operating inter-Samoa flights, but not to Manu’a.

Polynesian Airlines does not fly to Savai’i except on charter and operates scheduled daily flights to Pago Pago, American Samoa.

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