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Samoa PM brushes aside airline advice

Wednesday 20 May 2015 | Published in Regional

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APIA – The Samoan Prime Minister has downplayed calls for his government to defer plans to restart international Polynesian Airlines flights.

The Samoa Observer reports a senior Government official cautioned Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi about the plan to lease a Solomon Airlines Airbus to fly the Nadi-Apia-Auckland route.

In a letter, leaked to the newspaper, the official tells the prime minister that he considers the move is “too risky” and reminds the government that it is still paying off the debts from the failed airline.

The letter calls for a thorough financial feasibility study.

However, Tuilaepa says an analysis is underway but he believes the plan is financially viable. He says part of the analysis is to review the joint agreement between the government and Virgin Australia.

Since Virgin and Air New Zealand started an alliance in 2011, some MPs have criticised what they say is a lack of competition.

Tuilaepa says plans to lease or purchase a plane are well underway and scheduled flights are aimed to start in November.