Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, His Highness the Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi 11 and some guests after inspecting the new aircraft.
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2017: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi is calling on Samoans around the globe to support the country’s new international airline, Samoa Airways.
He made the call during the official launching of Samoa Airways Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft airline yesterday at Faleolo International Airport.
“To the thousands of Samoans in New Zealand, Australia and the United States and the world, support your Samoa owned airline and come home on our national carrier,” said Tuilaepa.
“To the business community, come and support our national carrier and show that we can do this together,” he said.
He said the launching is a special occasion to the people of Samoa as they come together to celebrate and showcase what a small island country like Samoa can do once we focus on what is important to us as a nation.
He said the one certainty in all this is that revenue generated by our national carrier will stay in Samoa, it will not be sent overseas, unlike airlines flying to Samoa which are posting close to a billion dollar profits, and none of that comes to Samoa as it all stays overseas.
He also acknowledged the local travel agents for the support and getting passengers to fly Samoa Airways.
“It is time that we stand up and it is time that we support our own airline and support Samoa. We are at the tipping point and your support will ensure that Samoa Airways grows and Samoa grows. We have a beautiful country with so much to offer, now we can grow and showcase the beauty of our country our culture and our people,” said Tuilaepa.
The new airline is dedicated to using all local products on its flights providing a service with a touch of the Samoan hospitality.
The Government’s dream was realized when they reached a decision in June this year, to end its joint venture with the Virgin Airlines.
Tuilaepa said the decision was based on sound and well researched studies which pointed to Samoa starting up its own national airline in partnership with another regional airline.
“And it took a very short time for our airline to do what usually takes 24 months to establish and I congratulate the Board and the Management of Samoa Airways for their commitment and fortitude in the face of many obstacles to get the airline up and running so quickly.”
Government has been asked many times why Samoa needs to have her own airline and Tuilaepa said Samoa can no longer rely on others to determine her destiny in terms of air travel.
“We can no longer sit back and let others dictate to us what’s best for our people and this country. Having our own airline ensures that we will be able to determine our destiny. Having our own airline will create jobs and will contribute to the economic growth of our country through increase exports and also contribute to increasing tourists to our country. Something that was not done under past arrangements,” said Tuilaepa.
“Our neighbours have their own national airlines and they have maintained their airlines successfully and profitably. If they can do it, why can’t we? The answer is, we can,” said Tuilaepa.
“The past lessons have been well learned and they will not be repeated. We want an airline that is efficient and run professionally. We as a country must embrace what is ours, we must embrace the national carrier and support it,” said Tuilaepa.
Samoa Airways has entered into a partnership with Fiji Airways and will soon provide connection through Samoa to the United States on a code sharing basis. It will partner with Fiji Airways to Asia, Europe and beyond.
“I call upon Samoa Airport Authority Board to assist the airline to get up and going and provide all the support you can to our national carrier.”
“To our airline management and staff, this is the time to work as professionals, to act as professionals, to put your best foot forward, to show case Samoa and its airline to the world. Do it right, do it properly and make the airline profitable,” said Tuilaepa.
“I urge our people and our country, come and support your national carrier. Be proud of what Samoa can do.”