APIA, SAMOA – 18 JUNE 2020: The Minister of Samoa Airways, Lautafi Selafi Purcell is confident that the airline will be able to pay its loans guaranteed by the Government currently standing at ST$64 million talā.
“We are positive in the projection laid out for the company, and once in operation, it will be able to pay the loan and look to the future,” Lautafi told Talamua.
The Airline has secured a dry ease of a Boeing 737-800 from the Netherlands and the aircraft is expected to be in Samoa to start operations is July.
The Minister said the aircraft will be on a dry lease for US$245,000 a month, “cheaper than the Malindo aircraft Samoa Airways leased recently,” he said.
Samoa Airways $64 million loan
Currently Samoa Airways owes $64 million of Government guaranteed loans from UTOS. The first loan was $15 million but because Government did not want to stop international travel when the aircrafts were grounded worldwide, the Airline opted to bring in the Malindo Airline despite the high cost.
He said the spinoffs from the deal with the Netherlands Airline company are all benefits if converted to money.
“We don’t just look at expenses, profits or losses. The Government’s planned financial returns rely on many opportunities to make profit as we want to get to the stage where we can start making money,” Lautafi said.
With this new deal, Samoa Airways stands to save $1 million talā a month compared to the Malindo Airlines deal.
As Samoa Airways awaits the arrival of the aircraft, the company received $1million talā through the Government’s stimulus package and $5 million talā compensation for the Fagali’i airport.
Samoa Airways to reinstate staff
Since COVID-19 State of Emergency lockdown, Lautafi said the company had no choice but to lay off staff members.
“We will reinstate all pilots and staff and they will go through refreshment training before resuming work when the aircraft arrives,” said Lautafi.
Four trips per airline to American Samoa
Travel between American Samoa and Samoa re-opened today with the Samoa Airways and Talofa Airways catering for the travellers with 4 trips per airline a day.
“Since both countries are COVID-19 free, there is no need for travellers to and from American Samoa to be quarantined,” he said.