The Minister for Works Infrastructure and Transport, Papalii Niko Lee Hang and the Chinese Ambassador His Excellency Wang Xuefeng signing the Air Services Agreement Monday this week
BY Lagi Keresoma / Photos courtesy of Savali News
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 26 OCTOBER 2016: The Air Service Agreement signed between the Peoples Republic of China and Samoa this week will help boost he development of trade, aviation, tourism and the exchange of people to people in the future.
This was the sentiment shared by Chinese Ambassador to Samoa, His Excellency Wang Xuefeng and the Minister for Works Infrastructure and Transport(MWIT), Papalii Niko Lee Hang when they endorsed the agreement in a brief ceremony on Monday.
The agreement has been in the pipeline for sometime and it was after long negotiations that the tw countries came to an agreement.
“Under the Air Service Agreement, China and Samoa airlines will be able to fly directly between the two countries as well as via or beyond any third country,” said Papali’i.
“This agreement signifies another bond between our two nations in terms of further expansion of Samoa’s aviation activities,” he said.
The agreement does not “restrict capacity on frequency and aircraft type.”
“The agreement will not only create better connectivity between the two states but will also have the added benefit of increasing trade and tourism,” he said.
Ambassador Wang said the agreement is important “as it brings the two countries closer and towards a bright and prosperous future.”
He has high praise for Samoa as a destination due to the friendliness and hospitality of her people and her long history.
He said Samoa’s rich culture, good environment, is a “paradise and a heaven for tourism” and more and more Chinese tourists can come to Samoa for travel.
“I am sure our warm bilateral relations will develop to a higher level, especially with the first step for the development in the field of aviation,” said Ambassador Wang.
Faleolo International Airport first phase near completion
Both leaders were very excited about the way the Faleolo International Airport work is coming along, especially with the first phase of the work now near completion.
The first phase is the terminal departure lounge and will be completed next month.
“What we need to do is have more work in the future, so lets walk forward together to meet a bright future in the field of aviation.”
He is confident that this is “beginning of cooperation in the air services field”and he is certain that Chinese tourists will come to Samoa.
The agreement has also emphasized conditions and policies the two countries to follow.
Samoa’s national carrier Polynesian Airlines, only has small twin otters serving the inter Samoa route and has been working to secure bigger planes to serve its international routes with its network and landing rights with countries such as New Zealand and Australia and other Pacific islands.
There have been previous efforts as well to secure direct flights from Hong Kong or Mainland China to Samoa to utilize the freer visa arrangements for Chinese visitors than going through Australia and New Zealand.