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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 28, 2001 – Samoa News)---Evergreen International Airlines will continue to provide air cargo service through American Samoa but will reduce its current two weekly flights to only one, according to company official David Johnson.

Last week, Johnson told the Samoa News that the McMinnville, Oregon-based air cargo carrier had forewarned its customers of the possibility that cargo flights to the territory, including its entire South Pacific route, would be terminated after the June 28th flight.

Top company officials then were to meet over the weekend with a final decision to be made yesterday on whether to go ahead with the termination of service due to "economic reasons."

However, Johnson said in a telephone interview from the company's headquarters yesterday morning that Evergreen "will continue to operate through Pago Pago."

"The decision was made . . . following representations to our management, with costing and pricing comparisons," said Johnson happily. "It was a financial decision."

The key to this decision pertains to Evergreen's contract with Qantas Airways for freight to Australia.

The usual route to Australia involves a stopover in Fiji, but the American Samoa stop was implemented for flights headed for New Zealand, according to Johnson.

"We’ve-looked at the viability to Australia via Pago Pago and have made the necessary decision," said Johnson.

"What's important is that we met and made the final decision to continue service through American Samoa."

Evergreen official Ivan Nikolenko, who oversees the Pago Pago service from the company's headquarters, has advised the major agents and shippers of the decision, according to Johnson.

Andrea Shak of the U.S. Postal Service in Honolulu told the Samoa News that they, too, were informed yesterday morning of the new Evergreen decision.

One Weekly Flight

Currently the air cargo carrier has two weekly cargo flights to the territory, on Thursday and early Sunday morning.

However, Johnson said the Sunday flight now has been suspended. The Thursday flight will continue to operate but with amended arrival and departure times, which will be made available soon by local agent Samoa Air.

The new schedule will not go into effect until July 12, as there will be no flight the week of the July 4th national holiday, America's Independence Day.

The U.S. Postal Service acknowledged that this new flight information from Evergreen had been received.

Shak said the impact of the cancellation may cause a buildup of some priority mail in Honolulu, but service will continue on Hawaiian Airlines.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

For additional reports from the Samoa News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Samoa News.

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