29 Dec 2003

American Samoa governor dismisses its to blame over failed Samoa Air deal

1:07 pm on 29 December 2003

The governor of American Samoa, Togiola Tulafona, is expressing surprise that talks between Guam's Aviation Concepts Incorporated and Samoa Air have broken down.

And, he's dismissing accusations that the government was the cause.

This follows comments by the chief executive of Samoa Air, Andre Lavinge, who blamed the government for the breakdown in negotiations for the buyout of the Pago Pago-based carrier.

Togiola says ACI made proposals to the government that he could not accept as it would have cost them more money and Samoa Air's debts to government were already unreasonable.

The governor says the government made counter offers that he believed would get ACI interested in the business and take over Samoa Air.

He says Samoa Air and ACI were to let him know about the deal, but he had not heard anything more.

Togiola Tulafono says the government has bent over backwards to help, and he is certain it is not responsible for Samoa Air's failures.