Samoa Airways Pilots No Longer based in Tutuila - Manu’a Flights
Updated: Jun 29, 2022
By: Tosimaeʻa Tupua
Samoa Airways crew operating charter flights to and from Manu’a are no longer based in Tutuila according to reports from the Lt Governor’s Office. The staff member of the Lt Governor’s Office KVZK News spoke confirmed the crew of Samoa Airways left the Territory on Saturday June 18, 2022.
In 2020, the American Samoa Government made an arrangement with the Independent State of Samoa to station one of its Twin Otter 200 HG in Pago Pago to ensure continued air service to the Manu’a island group during the covid 19 pandemic. However, with Covid now under control there is no more need to pay for crew and the aircraft to sit on the tarmac of the airport. Samoa Air will continue to operate charters and medical evacuation flights to Manua out of Faleolo via Tafuna.
The arrangement to have the Samoa Airways aircraft and crew stationed in Pago Pago was made during Governor Lolo’s administration shortly after the Samoa government closed its borders abruptly ending Manu’a flights. Executive Assistant to Governor Lolo M. Moliga at the time Iulogologo J. Pereira told the media the cost to park the plane here for charters was $4,000 while the cost of charters to Manu'a was $3,000. During the covid outbreak, Samoa Airways was on standby to ensure transport and emergency services could be provided for the people of Manu’a, 110 kilometers east of Tutuila.
Samoa Airways operates the territory’s domestic flights under a cabotage waiver from the US Transportation Department.
This is a major milestone as the two Samoas continue to relax restrictions for inter Samoa travel. Samoa has set a target of opening up its borders to unrestricted travel in August just in time for the major 60th celebrations slated for Teuila Festival Week in September.