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Samoa hints at international routes for carrier

As Samoa clears their final payment to sever their lease agreement for a Boeing 737-800, the Pacific nation has hinted at operating internationally again.

Earlier this year, the Samoan Government decided to return the leased aircraft because the pandemic had forced nations into a lockdown, including Samoa itself.

This has meant that for the time being, the lease deal was not viable Across the Pacific, airlines have been impacted and only those backed by governments have been able to operate.

Samoa media reports the move to get Samoa Airways back flying internationally. Minister for Public Enterprises, Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo announced the final payment of $US1.6 million to sever a Boeing 737-800 lease agreement with an overseas company totalling $US4.6 million.

As Samoa clears their final payment to sever their lease agreement for a Boeing 737-800, the Pacific nation has hinted at operating internationally again. Picture: Samoa Airways

Samoa Airways no longer operates long-haul flights to Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland – traditionally its primary sources of passengers and freight.

For now, there are four other airlines that service the Australia, New Zealand, Fiji routes and the government is looking at seat sharing arrangements with some of them.

There is no indication which airlines are being talked to. Mr So’oialo said the interim board will handle any possible joint ventures for Samoa Airways which will continue ground handling operations.

Samoa has just opened its borders after being in a lockdown of more than two years and there has been an influx of tourists into the nation.

The To-Sua ocean trench. Picture: Samoa Tourism Authority

The Samoa Tourism Authority has been busy with their Beautiful is Back campaign. The nation has realised that perhaps holding onto the plane would have been the better course of action.

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Other nations which have managed to support their national carriers are looking at new routes and have been tapping into destinations which would not have been their primary focus.

It is believed that Samoa Airways will focus more on the Apia-Pago Pago route with its Twin Otter planes. The Samoa Government has also announced that there would be work done to improve airport infrastructure.

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