by Alan Ah Mu
APIA: THURSDAY 8 AUGUST 2013: Preparations to search for shareholders to fund a reach for more overseas markets has been started by Samoa Air.
The airline began operations June last year with domestic flights – between Upolu and Savai’i islands.
March this year it became international with flights to American Samoa.
Samoa Air has also applied for similar FAOC to operate from Samoa to the Cook Islands, Tonga and to Wallis Island in French Polynesia.
Now Chief Executive Officer Chris Langton has announced plans to expand internationally from mid-next year.
In a data sheet for potential investors Samoa Air details the extra international flights envisioned, namely:
By way of a joint user arrangement between Samoa Air and Solomon Airlines a series of two International service groups are envisaged for 2014 as follows –
•JUNE 2014 Brisbane to Apia, Apia to Auckland, Auckland to Apia, Apia to Brisbane. (A320-200). Weekly.
•AUGUST 2014 Nadi to Apia, Apia to Honolulu, Honolulu to Apia, Apia to Nadi.(A319). Weekly.
By way of Lease with a supplier –
•OCTOBER 2014 Melbourne to Apia, Apia to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Melbourne. (A330-200). Twice Weekly.
By way of a Joint Venture between Samoa Air and another Asian carrier –
• JUNE 2015 Shanghai to Apia, Apia to Auckland, Auckland to Apia, Apia to Shanghai (A330-200). Weekly.
“Now to do all that we have to change the shape of our company,” said Langton.
As of this month Samoa Air is owned by the Langton Family who holds 53 percent of the shares, and eight other investors.
Samoa Air intends to offer 509 360 shares (at $1 per share) to raise an initial $2m to fund the launch of its extended international ambitions.
Langton stressed a desire for the shares to be dominated by Samoans so that it becomes their airline.
At some point in the future the company intends to list on the stock exchange, he said.
Samoa Air this year attracted world attention when overseas media learned of its pay by weight fare scheme which the airline had introduced in November of 2012.
Within days some 40 countries and over 290,000,000 hits were recorded on the website, it says.
“Some countries (United States, Australia, Japan ( twice), England and New Zealand) despatched TV crews here to Samoa to conduct interviews and see how Samoa Air managed this system.
“Over 60 on line interviews were also conducted on prime time radio and TV and Google placed a Map option on the URL search which allowed people to immediately locate Samoa.
“The interest in Samoa Air has not diminished and even when the airline changed its seating arrangements to make a seat more comfy for a large passenger there was a revival of the interest and for days this was the Number One item of interest world wide for Tourism and Travel.
“The BBC recently had a crew here and wish to do a 12 month exclusive to watch how Samoa Air develops and especially so as we move into International operations. “