14 Jan 2005

Polynesian concerned about American Samoa runway

7:37 am on 14 January 2005

The Samoan-based Polynesian Airlines has raised concerns about the condition of the runway at American Samoa's international airport.

Polynesian's Dash-8 aircraft was flying again yesterday after being grounded since last Saturday due to tyre damage.

Polynesian chief executive Malopaia John Fitzgerald told the Samoa Observer the damage sustained was more than the usual wear and tear.

Malopaia suspects the runway and/or taxiway surfaces at Pago Pago international airport - while quite safe - are contributing to the tyre damage.

He says the airline had been forced to change three tyres since Christmas and had run out of spares.

They had to wait for a delivery of tyres from overseas and the airline has now doubled its stock of spares to allow for greater wear and tear.

But American Samoa's Deputy Director of Airport Services Peter Lefiti says it is strange that only Polynesian is having problems with the condition of the runway.

Mr Lefiti says the local airport was resurfaced less than two years ago and there have been no complaints from any other runway users.