Virgin Australia direct flights from Australia are tentatively scheduled to resume in March 2023 according to Samoa Airport Authority General Manager Silimanai Ueta Solomona.
Government-owned newspaper, Savali reports this will allow the parties to tie up loose ends to pave the Faleolo International Airport’s runway for the return of Virgin Australia.
The number would soon increase in a few months with the return of Virgin Australia which was confirmed by Silimanai.
“Virgin Australia is slated to commence flights in March next year,” Silimina’i told Savali.
“They are planning on the same frequency from pre-COVID times which was four flights a week from Sydney.”
Consequently, since the borders opened on August 1st three carriers (Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, and Qantas) have been given the green light for scheduled flights in and out of the country while Samoa Airways and Talofa Airways operate the inter-island services between the two Samoas.
Presently Faleolo Airport is coming to life again with more than ten flights a week from various destinations, compared to border closures when there was one flight a week, adding up to only four flights a month, not including weekly cargo flights.
Per week Fiji Airways has 5 flights with its 737 Max 8, 4 Air New Zealand flights in an A321 and Boeing 787, and 1 Qantas flight in an Airbus 330. Flights to America Samoa per day are four flights operated by Samoa Airways in its 19-seater Twin Otter, and Talofa Airways with its 9 seater Air Commander 90.
“Right now there are no changes in the schedule of Air New Zealand, there is only one additional flight from Fiji Airways that heads to Hawaii which started last week on the 26th of August,” he said.
All flights coming in from Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Nadi, Honolulu, and American Samoa add up to 25,000 seats per week. Silimanai revealed that Air New Zealand and Fiji Airways are looking to add an additional flight by next month, however, there is still no confirmation from Qantas on any additional flights in the future.
He explained that it would take a while to get the number of flights from pre-COVID times which averaged to about 20 flights a week.