The Fagalii Airport will open by October, this was confirmed by Olo Fiti Vaai in an interview with Radio Polynesia.
Olo gave the confirmation in response to comments by the leader of the Human Rights Protection Party criticising the move by the FAST Government to re-open Fagalii, citing security issues.
Last month the Ministry of Police and Prisons confirmed the transfer of the Fagalii Airport to the Ministry of Works Transport and Infrastructure and relocating of the Traffic Division back to its headquarters in Apia.
The same week, Cabinet Ministers Olo Fiti Vaai and Minister of Samoa Airways Leatinuu Wayne So’oialo conducted a site visit noting the Fagalii Airport will “open soon”.
This week the suspended Lepa MP called on the FAST Government to reconsider its decisions, he said the runway is not suitable for Talofa Airway as it’s short and “there were incidents in the past where the aircraft has almost crashed on several occasions”.
The former Prime Minister, says “unless Minister Olo want someone to die before this reconsider their plans.”
Adding the safety of the public was the main factor behind the closing of the Fagalii Airport.
Tuilaepa further accused Olo Fiti Vaai of taking reckless actions and said their Government invested in a new airport in Tiavea.
In response, Minister Olo told Radio Polynesia, that the Government have huge plans for the Airport and Tuilaepa’s vision for Fagalii is “narrow”.
“Keeping in mind the flights landing at the Fagalii Airport collected profits, and instead of investing the profits back into the Fagalii Airport, the previous Government opted to build the Tia’vea airport.”
Minister Olo cited reports including one from local pilots of their concerns about the “unsafe” of the Tiavea airport and the security it poses, and they urged the Government to re-open Fagalii.
The Minister further before they deem the Fagalii airport to be safe and ready for operation, Aviation experts from overseas will asses the airport whether it has met all civil aviation standards before the Fagalii airport can be opened.
“We have to make sure that it has met aviation requirements before we can allow any flights to be open,” said the Minister.
He urged Tuilaepa not to comment on airport security issues as he has no knowledge about civil aviation matters.
According to the Minister, the intention is to expand the runway to ensure it is safe. “As indicated before we have big plans for the Fagalii Airport,” he said.