SUNBIZ

Samoa Airways And Fiji Airways Executives Have Started Discussion On The Two Parties Partnership And Codeshare Arrangements

This comes after the Samoan Cabinet endorsed a move to “close” the Apia-Nadi flight route, as it moves to promote the use of Samoa Airways for passengers travelling between Samoa and Fiji.
24 Feb 2020 11:41
Samoa Airways And Fiji Airways Executives Have Started Discussion On The Two Parties Partnership And Codeshare Arrangements
Faleolo International Airport

Samoa Airways and Fiji Airways executives have started the discussion on the two parties partnership and codeshare arrangements.

This comes after the Samoan Cabinet endorsed a move to “close” the Apia-Nadi flight route, as it moves to promote the use of Samoa Airways for passengers travelling between Samoa and Fiji.

The decision was revealed in a confidential Samoan Cabinet paper, past week which was obtained by the Weekend Samoa Observer paper.

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and Minister of Samoa Airways, Lautafi Fio Purcell were in Fiji last week attending the Pacific Island Leaders’ Summit during the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s visit.

In a statement yesterday a Fiji Airways spokesperson said: “Discussions have taken place between Samoa Airways and Fiji Airways executives on partnership and codeshare arrangements.

“However, the matter of flights between Fiji and Samoa concerns the existing Air Services Agreement between the two countries.

“As such, Fiji Airways has referred the matter to the Fijian Government for their attention.”

The Fiji Sun is awaiting comment from the Attorney-General and Minister for responsible for Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on this.

Currently, Samoan Government-owned Samoa Airways operates jet services between Samoa and Australia and New Zealand. It also codeshares on Fiji Airways flights between Fiji and Sa- moa and, Samoa and Honolulu, USA.

The Samoa Observer reported that Samoan Ministry of Finance chief executive officer, Leasiosiofa’asisina Oscar Malielegaoi, said that the delegation is currently in Fiji met with their counterparts at Fiji Airways about the matter.

Mr Leasiosiofa’asisina spoke in his capacity as a member of the Committee appointed by the Cabinet to oversee the finances of the Samoa Airways.

Samoan Cabinet

The Samoa Observer reported that Samoan Cabinet meeting of Wednesday, February 12, 2020, the Cabinet discussed PK(20)164. It endorsed the policies for flights to Fiji as follows,” a translation of the document reads.

“i: The closing of the Apia-Nadi and Nadi-Apia route

“ii: All travel intended for Fiji will be routed to Auckland using Samoa Airways and return via Auckland on the way back to Samoa

“iii: For travel from Hawaii, they will come through Pagopago and then to Apia.”

The document does not detail any reason as to why the Samoan Government has decided to close the Apia-Nadi route.

But it reveals that the Minister of Samoa Airways, has been tasked by Samoan Cabinet to discuss the new arrangement with the management of Fiji Airways.

The Samoa Observer attempted to get a comment from Minister Lautafi but were unsuccessful.

Samoan Ministry of Finance

But Leasiosiofa’asisina said the Government would do anything possible to support its national carrier, when interviewed at his office on Friday.

“As expected a new airline will always struggle; we’re still in that infancy stage since opening up in late 2017.

“We are doing everything possible to support our national airline and it is in our best interest to support our airline. And the government will provide that support,” Leasiosiofa’asisina told the Samoa Observer.

He said at the moment passengers flying to Asia travel through Fiji and there is an alternative can fly via Auckland and then to Asia.

“If we don’t force ourselves to make that change then it’s just talking, and we’re not fully supporting our airline. The move to suspend [flights] or forcing all government officials to use the Auckland Samoa airways sector it’s all in support of the national airline,” he said.

Asked on the impact of the tourism industry as a whole, in terms of shutting down another route, Mr Leasiosiofa’asisina told the Samoa Observer, it would be of net benefit to the sector.

“We still have other alternatives; tourists in the past have used other alternatives routes to Samoa including Australia, American Samoa, where Samoa Airways flies to,” he said.

“In a way, it’s all part and parcel of that package to support our airline. And tourists at this age and stage people use online booking after you go online the system will direct you to other alternatives [routes].”

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