Aircraft lease talks continue

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Samoa Airways Chief Executive Officer, Seiuli Tupuivao Alvin Tuala.

Samoa Airways Chief Executive Officer, Seiuli Tupuivao Alvin Tuala. (Photo: Joyetter Luamanu )

Samoa Airways Chief Executive Officer, Seiuli Tupuivao Alvin Tuala has squashed rumours they are leasing an aircraft from Fiji Airways. 

“No we are leasing our own aircraft, we’re working with Fiji Airways for engine support, maintenance and other important aspects of the airline. 

“Our aircraft will be leased from a leasing company,” said Seiuli Tupuivao. 

He refused to reveal the company’s identity noting the negotiations are not yet finalized. 

“It is a leasing company that leases aircraft,” he further told the Samoa Observer. 

On Monday, the partnership between Fiji Airways and Polynesian Airlines was formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by Seiuli Tupuivao and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen. 

Seiuli Tupuivao pointed out the M.O.U. is not similar to the joint venture the government have with Virgin Australia, which will expire come 12 November 2017. 

He explained the Samoa Government payment plan to the “leasing company is nothing at all near what was paid” to Virgin Australia. Seiuli Tupuivao said the lease negotiations are “very good” with the “leasing company” however he did not disclose how much. 

“All those thing are sensitive and it’s still in the works and we have not finalized everything yet,” he said. 

Furthermore the Samoa Airways C.E.O. made it clear the Samoa government has no monetary obligations to the Fiji Airways. 

The signed M.O.U. is for assistance in getting Samoa Air on their feet with the airline operation. 

“We are not going to pay anything, we are actually partners working together and making money together.” 

Asked for a copy of the M.O.U. Seiuli Tupuivao said those are confidential documents between the airlines. 

Meanwhile Minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Selafi Purcell says while there are no guarantees there are always business and economic decisions the government needs to make. 

“And with every decision as I said before, there are always risks in everything. 

“But we have to manage risks as they come up, we have to preempt the risks and calculate those risks, but we don’t know what the future holds. 

“We try. And one thing for certain is, that we cannot continue the way we are, we have to forge our own way as a nation; we need our own airline.” 

“We have learned from the mistakes of the past and we are never going to repeat them again. Never ever! That’s what happened in the past and it will stay in the past. We will not be making those mistakes again, we are going to operate very efficiently,” said the Minister. 

Lautafi is adamant the government is heading in the right direction. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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