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Not obligated to Fiji Airways, says Tuilaepa

Not obligated to Fiji Airways, says Tuilaepa
Air Niugini Boeing 737-800 ..., Icelandair’s leasing subsidiary already leases aircraft to Air Niugini. It will now also do so for Samoa Airways. Photo: Airliners Net.
August 21
10:32 2017

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says they are not obligated to Fiji Airways.

This was reported in the Samoa Observer following the news on Samoa’s new international airline, Samoa Airways, would lease a Boeing 737 from Icelandair’s aircraft leasing subsidiary.

Earlier it was reported that Samoa Airways would source the aircraft through Fiji Airways as part of a cooperation agreement between the airlines.

Samoa Airways plans to service between Samoa and Australia and New Zealand when Samoa’s joint venture with Virgin Australia ends in November.
Icelandair Group is not new to the Pacific region.

It has a successful partnership with Air Niugini which has proven to be a catalyst for Papua New Guinea’s international connections.

Icelandair currently leases five Boeing aircraft to Air Niugini, since their partnership in 2007.

However, Tuilaepa said Fiji Airways and Samoa Airways are working together.

He said that if there are flights between Fiji and Samoa, it’s more feasible to utilise one airline.

“Fiji Airlines will allocate seats for us and that way we will share the revenue in terms of tickets sold.

“While we focus on our routes to New Zealand and Australia,” he said.

Meanwhile, there has been numerous criticism and public complaints of the Samoa Airways logo, the Samoa Observer reports.

The logo was revealed last two weeks and it has a picture of a coconut tree.

Samoan Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell citing the costs and priority spending said: “We don’t have money to spend on expensive aircraft paint. We are saving those funds for operation costs.

“The logo on the airplane will be much more effective and eye catching than the logo itself, once it’s painted on our newly-leased plane.

“Regardless of what people are nagging and complaining about, they will have a different opinion once this logo is slapped onto the tail of the plane,” he said.
Lautafi added that although Samoa’s national flower is the teuila, but they opted for coconut because it showcases the Pacific Islands.

“We want to portray the Pacific and attract more tourists, because in their minds, they want to hang under swinging palm trees and that is our coconut trees.

“No one knows what a teuila is, so again, it’s all about prioritising what is more important and that is to provide an adequate service to our people through our new airline,” he says.

He added that providing adequate service might not be possible if they had to spend $200,000 on one paint, because that is how much it cost.

“We would rather spend money in the service department than to try and please everyone who is complaining about the plain looking logo.”

Mr Purcell told the Samoa Observer, the airplane is leased and once the lease expires, they have to repaint the whole plane back to its original colour and again, the costs are relatively high.

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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