Loss of routes previously run by Samoa Airways has left a gap, says ADB


The Asia Development Bank, Pacific Economic Monitor –a report released this week titled COVID-19 and the Pacific Three Years outlines that although air service to Samoa from major regional airlines has been recovering toward pre-COVID-19 levels, the loss of routes previously run by Samoa Airways has left a gap compared to pre- COVID-19 capacity, even with Virgin Australia routes returning in March 2023. 

The total available seats from August 2022 to April 2023 were 162,207, down by 31.0% from the 235,014 seats offered for the same period in FY 2019.

However, according to the Samoa Tourism Authority, the reduction in seat capacity does not appear to be a binding constraint, as around 43,000 of these seats have been unused since reopening.

Early indications from airlines and forward bookings also suggest that flight capacity will not be a binding constraint in the immediate future. Air New Zealand is increasing the number of 787 Dreamliner flights to five per week (up from three), Virgin Australia has resumed services, and there are limited charter flights from the People’s Republic of China.