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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 13, 2000 – PIDP/CPIS)---The U.S. Postal Service has reached an agreement with an air cargo company to carry the U.S. mail to American Samoa, according to local Post Master Smitty McMoore.

McMoore said the agreement was reached last week and arrangements now are being completed so that Evergreen International Airlines can start transporting the mail to American Samoa from Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Currently, Evergreen provides weekly cargo flights to American Samoa but has been unable to uplift the backlog of mail in Honolulu for the territory, because the company is not authorized to carry U.S. mail.

Hawaiian Airlines is contracted by the U.S. Postal Service to fly U.S. mail to American Samoa but the mail is not a priority when a flight is full.

McMoore said on Monday that he was informed last Friday that Evergreen and the Postal Service had reached an agreement to permit the transport of mail. One of the obstacles surrounding the delay in reaching the agreement was Evergreen's relatively high cargo rate. Reportedly, the air cargo company has dropped its rates slightly.

McMoore said the first Evergreen flight that will uplift mail from both Los Angeles and Honolulu is expected to take place on June 22nd.

Although Evergreen has been endorsed, McMoore said the Postal Service is continuing to negotiate with other air carriers to help deliver the mail bound for American Samoa.

McMoore said that two containers of first class and priority mail totaling 20,000 pounds arrived in the territory on Saturday on board a container vessel. This was part of the backlog of U.S. mail left behind in Honolulu when another air cargo company, Kitty Hawk, pulled out of the American Samoa market on May 2nd without notice due to financial problems.

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