Samoa's government-owned Airline, Samoa Airways, has settled its US$1,500 fine with the American Samoa Government over immigration breaches for allowing two Samoans to travel to the territory without proper permits.
Samoa Observer reported that this was confirmed by the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Airways, Fauo'o Fatu Tielu, noting that the fine has been taken care of.
As reported earlier, Attorney General Fainuulelei Falefatu Alailima-Utu confirmed the airline was fined $500 for not complying with local immigration laws.
Fauo'o told Samoa Observer that staff members who were accountable faced disciplinary action. They were suspended without pay and warned that their services would be terminated immediately if it happened again.
The airline was fined in the aftermath of two incidents last month.
The first incident involved Fepuleai Fa’asavalu Su’a, Samoa's former Associate Minister for Police, who traveled to American Samoa without a proper permit and used his diplomatic passport to enter the U.S. territory, leading to his detention.
He was asked to resign from the post of Associate Minister. A media report from Pago Pago quoted the territory's Attorney General, Fainuulelei Alailima–Utu, saying the Associate Minister travelled to the territory without a valid permit, resulting in the airline being fined USD$500.
Fainuulelei reportedly said he reduced the fine for the airline connected to Fepuleai’s incident because the airline had apologized for non-compliance.
The second fine of US$ 1,000 was for allowing a foreign national to board one of its planes to American Samoa without a proper permit. It was confirmed that the New Zealand passport holder who planned to visit the American territory traveled on one of the airline's planes without a proper permit.
New regulations that are now in effect in the U.S. territory after they were introduced in November 2022 now require travelers from countries like New Zealand to obtain entry permits before entering Pago Pago.