FIVE PERCENT INCREASE IN POLYNESIAN AIRLINES’ FARES BY MAY 1ST

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (March 19, 2002 – Samoa News)---Travelers originating out of Pago Pago will not be affected by Polynesian Airlines' (PAL) proposed fare increase, according to Polynesian official Toleafoa John Nickel, in a telephone interview from Apia.

Toleafoa said the increase was approved by the Samoa government last year but PAL's management has held back implementing new fares until now.

The 5% fare increase goes into effect on May 1st and Polynesian Airlines is already selling tickets for passengers whose travel commences on or after May 1st to reflect the increase.

"However, the increase does not affect travel originating from Pago Pago," Toleafoa said.

Passengers originating out of Honolulu also are not affected.

It is only travel that originates out of Apia that will be affected by the increase, Toleafoa said.

The increase is a result of a continuing rise in the cost of operations. They include hikes in fuel worldwide and, as a result of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S., the need to implement new security measures and purchase increased insurance.

The terrorist attacks also caused a slump in the industry that sent some airlines into financial chaos and others out of business.

Toleafoa said that it is not only Polynesian Airlines hiking fares but other airlines in the region such as Air New Zealand and Air Pacific, which have experienced the same problems.

For example, effective May 1st, both Polynesian and Air New Zealand round trips from Apia to Auckland will jump to SA$ 1,500 from SA$1,349; to Sydney from SA$ 2,068 to SA$ 2,326.

However, Poly's fares out of New Zealand to Samoa are higher than Air New Zealand’s.

Poly's round-trip from Apia to Pago Pago will increase to SA$ 256 from the current SA$ 223.

The current roundtrip fare from Pago Pago to Apia is $121.70, not including the local passenger facility charge.

[Note 1.00 tala (SA$) = US$ 0.283]

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