Travellers from Apia heading to American Samoa are feeling the pinch on the expensive return trip which costs more than $700 tala compared to previous airfares, between $350- $400 tala.
Interim Chief Executive Officer of the Government owned Airline, Fauo’o Fatu Tielu has blamed the landing fees in American Samoa as the reason behind the expensive airfares, as well as the high cost of fuel.
He said during an interview with Radio Polynesia, that with the opening of Fagalii Airport, Samoa Airways airfares could drop.
“This has to do with expensive fees levied by Tutuila and also the high cost of fuel,” he said.
Concerns are raised by members of the public about the expensive airfares which are almost the same price to travel to New Zealand which is four hours away versus American Samoa only 45 minutes distance when travelling by plane.
Samoa News reported that during a hearing before American Samoa’s House of Representatives an official of the Airline, Stanley Nansen said the landing fee is $1,005 USD on a monthly basis, but it could be more depending on the number of flights.
There are no cost charges for services provided by the Quarantine and Customs between Manu’a and Tutuila, but these service fees apply for the flights between Tutuila ma Upolu.
As reported earlier, Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure Olo Fiti Vaai is determined to have the Fagali’i Airport open before Christmas.
Savali reported the Fagali’i airport serviced the inter-island flights between Samoa and American Samoa. Adding the Airport Authority requested cabinet for authorization to reopen the Fagali’i Airport.
However, the Minister revealed a Cabinet Directive has requested a health report regarding the safety of the location of the airport be provided.
The requested report seeks confirmation of the safety of the airport from any health-related issues taking into account grievances by members of the surrounding communities.