By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 09 NOVEMBER 2020: The Minister responsible for Samoa Airways, Lautafi Selafi Fio Purcell has assured the country that the operation of the airlines office in American Samoa amidst the Covid-19 lockdown is all “well and good.”
Lautafi was responding to questions regarding the airlines Pago office General Manager, Toe Loia resigning over alleged differences with a staff member. There were also allegations of a drunk pilot bad mouthing a senior staff and an employee who was sent back to Samoa as he was not given the clearance by the American Samoa authorities.
While talking to Talamua, Lautafi called the Samoa Airways Chief Executive Officer, Seiuli Alvin Tuala who was attending a management meeting and asked Seiuli to leave the meeting in order to clarify the issues raised.
Lautafi was then informed that the General Manager had resigned and he wanted to know the reason behind the resignation if the reports were true that he was not getting his full pay under the Covid-19 lockdown.
“It is true Toe has resigned because he got a better job offer, as all employees are getting 50% only of their salaries due to Covid-19,” Lautafi confirmed.
As for the drunk pilot, Lautafi said there was no truth in the report and there had been no issues among the employees.
Talamua had been told that one of the airlines pilots in American Samoa had been returned home after the General Manager reported the pilots’ behavior.
The Minister did confirm that the employee that was denied entrance into American Samoa was not a pilot but a replacement for the General Manager to oversee the office administration until someone is appointed to the position.
“He did not meet the requirement for entrance into American Samoa,” Lautafi said and the employee had to return to Apia.
“But overall, the office operations are in full swing with frequent flights between Tafuna and Manu’a Island,” said the Minister.