Samoa PM: Polynesian Airlines Expansion Not Finalized

admin's picture

Tuilaepa downplays possible negative impacts on economy

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Oct. 25, 2015) – Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has downplayed fears about Polynesian Airlines dragging the country to bankruptcy.

He has also clarified that although plans are in the pipeline for Polynesian Airlines to re-start its international flights, beginning with flights from Apia to Auckland, a final decision has yet to be made.

"It is in the process of finalisation," Tuilaepa told the Sunday Samoan.

"There are plans in place and they have some really good plans but it’s not yet time for a final decision."

When a decision is likely to be made, the Prime Minister did not say.

But Polynesian Airlines Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.), Seiuli Alvin Tuala, confirmed the plan during an interview with the Sunday Samoan where he also revealed plans to fly to Tonga, Brisbane and Sydney, Australia.

During the interview, Seiuli was adamant the Airline will not go through the same financial demise it has been associated with in the past.

"We’ve really looked at it closely," he assured. "We’re not going to do anything that’s going to drive the company broke and we’re really looking closely at that and the viability of going with it and how we can sustain it."

Seiuli added that strategies are in place to minimize the risks, which put the company in the red in the past.

"There are going to be no free tickets. There are going to be no upgrades and none of the things that we had in the past. You’ve got to control that," he said.

"You’ve got to be quite strong and be able to tell people in government or whoever, I’m sorry, but you pay like everyone else. If you don’t pay, you don’t get on."

Asked about this, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said he is not concerned about mistakes of the past being repeated.

"If they follow the guidelines that they’ve got now which is everything in cash, there should be nothing to worry about," Tuilaepa said.

"In the past, the biggest problem was that things were on credit but the new system is that everything has to be in cash. That applies to everyone."

"So if you don't pay your ticket, you will get none."

Asked about Polynesian Airlines going into a partnership with Solomon Airlines, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said there was nothing to worry about.

"Solomon Airlines is a credible airline," he said. "It is the norm to look for opportunities in partnership arrangements to make the cost of doing business cheaper."

On Friday, the Sunday Samoan received an email from C.E.O. Seiuli asking for a correction.

"First of all, we are not starting operations next month," he wrote.

"We still have a lot of work to do before we launch which includes certification, seeking approvals from a number of C.A.As around the region and having all our systems and procedures in place. So we do not have a date to launch as yet as we still have much work to do."

"Secondly, the pilots will not fly the plane themselves, they will work as first officers alongside Sol Airlines pilots and continue with their training. What the two pilots achieved was to get their type rating for the A320 Jet."

In a recorded interview upon which the story was based, Seiuli said: "So we’re looking at November for our launch date, but I know that will cause a lot of fuel...aaaaah they shouldn’t go back to that...that’s why we do it quietly and we don’t want to make a fuss about it."

"We just put our heads down and get our work done."

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment