14 Jun 2002

Samoa company plans a regional airline

3:55 pm on 14 June 2002

The Pago Pago-based airline Samoa Air says it wants to expand as a regional carrier in Polynesia.

Its chief executive, Andre Lavigne, says plans are afoot to get more small planes and to fill gaps in the region by offering more frequent services.

Mr Lavigne says the project also involves talks with Niue which has seen a downturn in tourism because of the loss of its direct air link to Auckland.

But he says Samoa Air is unlikely to be able to assist Niue with a service to Auckland.

"we would like to link Niue to all other island groups whether it be the Samoas, potentially Fiji and also Tonga of course....and may be even the Cook Islands in the future."

Andre Lavigne says he has held preliminary discussions on the plans with Niue's deputy prmeir, Sani Lakatani, in Samoa last week.