Govt. puts air safety first

By Deidre Tautua ,

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ALL CLEARED: Acres of the land next to the Faleolo International Airport have been cleared for the safety of aircrafts and their passengers. (inset) Minister Papali'i Niko Lee Hang.

ALL CLEARED: Acres of the land next to the Faleolo International Airport have been cleared for the safety of aircrafts and their passengers. (inset) Minister Papali'i Niko Lee Hang. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

The Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, has responded to concerns raised by members of the public about the mass clearing of trees next to the Faleolo International Airport.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he said the clearing has been authorised to allow aircrafts to land and take off safely from the Faleolo International Airport.  

Papali’i was asked whether the government is planning to start another project around that area.

But the Minister said birds using the forest in the area were posing a risk to the aircrafts.

 “That area had become a bird’s nest and these birds often interfere with the flight paths,” he said.

“So we had to clear the whole area because we were looking at the safety of the planes and the passengers. 

“With so many birds there, they pose a real danger and some of them end getting caught and sucked into the engines and that could create some serious problems.

 “So the decision was made to clear the whole place.”

Asked if the government is not thinking of turning the area into a solar farm, Papali’i said if a company has some ideas, they are welcome to discuss it with the government.

 “But as of now and the time being there are no plans in that area.”

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