KITTY HAWK SUSPENDS WEEKLY CARGO FLIGHT TO AMERICAN SAMOA

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By Fili Sagapolutele Special to Pacific Islands Report

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 1, 2000)---Kitty Hawk Inc. is suspending its weekly cargo flight to American Samoa from the U.S. mainland until further notice, says the air cargo company's local agent, Samoa Air.

The local agent could not provide specific reasons behind the company's decision. The suspension was to go into effect today, but a Samoa Air official said Saturday’s (April 29) weekly flight was also included in the suspension of service.

Local merchants depended on the cargo flight, which comes in on Saturdays, with fresh vegetables and fruits.

The Post Office was also heavily dependent on Kitty Hawk's service to uplift mail cargo that Hawaiian Airlines is unable to carry on its two weekly flights from Honolulu.

Kitty Hawk Inc., a Dallas, Texas company, last year acquired full shares of American International Cargo, which operated a worldwide cargo service for several years. At the time, Kitty Hawk promised that there would be no interruptions to services previously provided by AIC, including the American Samoa route.

E-mail messages to the company seeking comments were referred to a press release issued by the company on Friday. The release only states that Kitty Hawk Inc. will suspend operations at its Kitty Hawk International Division effective Monday, May 1.

The international division, with headquarters in Ypsilanti, Michigan, operated 19 heavyweight cargo aircraft, including seven Boeing 747s, six Lockheed L-1011s and six Douglas DC-8s.

Kitty Hawk domestic operations apparently will not be affected.

 

AMERICAN SAMOA FOOD BANK POSTPONES DISTRIBUTION

By Fili Sagapolutele Special to the Pacific Islands Report

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (May 1, 2000)---South Pacific LIFE has postponed a planned second distribution of food baskets to those in need until necessary warehousing arrangements are completed, said Ava Hunkin, the non-profit group's founder.

The group issued a radio message Friday announcing the cancellation of food distribution while it completes arrangements for a new warehouse to store supplies received from U.S. mainland contributors. The radio message said the current facility, at Tausala Restaurant, is too limited and small.

Reached by telephone, Hunkin said the organization has located a temporary warehouse with a lot of space about a mile from the old location and is preparing to move.

He said that once they are set up at their new location the group will proceed with a second food basket distribution. Hunkin hopes that they will be moved in by the end of the week.

He said their goal is to set up operations at the Tafuna Industrial Park. Someone is working on that project right now, he said, setting up an office and warehouse at the temporary location.

"We need a bigger facility to house the food items donation by our food bank contributors on the mainland," Hunkin said.

"Our aim is to distribute weekly," said Hunkin.

"We pay for the cost of the container that brings in the food."

The group already made one food distribution several weeks ago, prompting complaints to the Health Department about the expired shelf life of some food items.

Hunkin confirmed a visit by health officials.

"All the necessary documents and everything was provided for the Health Department. And we are complying with all their requests," he added.

Hunkin said health officials also were told that once the containers arrive, every food item is rechecked and any item not fit for local consumption is disregarded.

The food items for South Pacific LIFE are donated by food banks on the U.S west coast, which receive the items from major grocery stores free of charge. In some cases, the shelf life of the items has just expired.

Members concerned about the expiry date can return the food to South Pacific LIFE for others to use, Hunkin said.

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