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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 28, 2000 – PIDP/CPIS)---The U.S. Postal Service has signed an agreement with Hawaiian Airlines to carry mail from Hawai‘i to American Samoa in a move to eliminate the backlog of mail in the territory, said Edward Broglio, Hawai‘i District Manager of the U.S. Postal Service.

The Samoa News has been receiving calls from residents and businesses regarding the mail backlog left at Pago Pago Airport due to the full passenger flights on Hawaiian Airlines.

Two business owners were concerned that the backlog of mail here would damage their dealings with off-island vendors, especially when payments do not arrive on time.

"Your information is false," said Broglio in a written response. "There is currently no backlog of outgoing mail from American Samoa."

According to Broglio, Hawaiian Airlines has carried mail on every flight in June. On the eight flights from June 2-23, Hawaiian carried an average of 1,734 pounds of mail, which he said is normal.

"The U.S. Postal Service must have a contract with an air carrier for transporting mail," Broglio explained. "The current contract with Hawaiian Airlines began on April 11, 1998."

"It basically provides that HAL (Hawaiian Air) will carry a minimum of 500 pounds and a maximum of 2,000 pounds of outbound mail from American Samoa to Honolulu on each flight," Broglio noted. "The maximum is negotiable and predicated on their passenger and baggage capacity of each flight."

"For mail from Honolulu to American Samoa, HAL carries a minimum of 2,000 pounds and a maximum of 10,000 pounds. According to our records they carry an average of 6,000 to 8,000 pounds per flight," he added.

The mail should be moving frequently without a hitch now that Hawaiian Airlines has added a third flight -- on Thursdays -- and with the recent contractual agreement with Evergreen, he said. Evergreen starts carrying the mail this Thursday, he added

Broglio said the Honolulu Transportation Networks office and the Washington, D.C. networks office "has been working diligently to provide a new contract to replace Kitty Hawk. We understand the serious hardship it placed on your residents."

Last week the backlog in Honolulu was shipped by container before the contract was signed with Evergreen, Broglio explained.

According to the Postal Service, Hawaiian Air’s Monday flight carried the mail for American Samoa and any mail from Tuesday and Wednesday will go on Evergreen’s flight.

"Mail service is now back to normal after the loss of cargo carrier Kitty Hawk. We'd like to thank the people of American Samoa for their patience," Broglio concluded.

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