Retired Manu Samoa Vili Alalatoa is two hundred per cent behind the resurrection of the national pride, Samoa Airways.
Enjoying his retirement in Sydney Australia, Alalatoa who played for his country of birth in 53 internationals from 1988 until the 1991 World Cup, is travelling to Apia for a family reunion later this month on Samoa Airways.
And it’s to reaffirm his patriotism and national pride, nothing more and nothing less.
Six months ago through the Samoan coconut wires in Sydney, he heard that the rebranded Samoa Airways, the country’s’ national carrier will debut before the end of the year offering affordable airfares.
And his phone bill has increase since planning a family union in Samoa. But it was not just the affordable airfares that infatuated him but pride as a Samoan patriot, said the native Malifa four corner’s resident and retired Apia Maroons front row.
“It’s high noon for Samoa to regain her national pride in the air,” he added. “For over ten years, Samoans all over Australia have been held hostage by the ridiculous Virgin monopoly,” he said.
“To travel from Sydney to Samoa, the return airfare is AUST$1,400 minimum and if you want a meal its AUST$2,100 return. That’s AUST$700 extra for a meal?
“Our residents have had little or no option but to pay.
“But with the direct Faleolo-Sydney, not only will it cost less but it will eliminate the inconvenience of travelling to Samoa via Auckland.”
When asked for his reactions to opinions dooming Samoa Airways as a failure, he chuckles;
“That’s Samoans for you. Some doubtful and skeptical while others are critical and opinionated for the sake of exercising their freedom of speech. And it reaffirms that democracy is very much alive in Samoa and our people all over the globe because you are entitled to your own opinions after all.
“Besides opinions are like, your know what everyone has one,” he added,
“For me seeing is believing. For Samoa Airways to fly direct between Faleolo and Sydney is more than enough proof that our national carrier is for the people and will be here to stay.
“As a Samoan living abroad, I must compliment government and the Prime Minister for the many developments and beneficial reforms that our people back home are reaping the fruits from their hard labors.
“So when it comes to our Samoan pride with initiatives that will benefit our country, relatives and families back home, you are not a Samoan if you continue to play the naïve card because that is utter nonsense.”
For the family reunion Alalatoa will be returning home to Malifa with his two boys who are following their father’s international rugby footsteps; sons Allan cementing a foothold in the Australian Wallabies and brother Michael turning heads at the Canterbury Crusaders franchise.