28 Oct 2008

Samoa contacts Air Pacific and Hawaiian over Air NZ pressure

2:45 pm on 28 October 2008

The Samoan Government has approached Air Pacific and Hawaiian Air about flying the Samoa-Los Angeles route following a request from Air New Zealand for millions of dollars to continue its service.

Currently Air New Zealand operates weekly services between Tonga, Apia and Los Angeles and Rarotonga and Los Angeles.

But the airline has informed the governments of the three countries that the routes are losing it money and that it will only continue to fly them next year if it receives financial support.

The Samoa Observer has reported that Air New Zealand is seeking 4.8 million New Zealand dollars a year to maintain the Tonga, Apia to Los Angeles route.

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni says he has formally approached Air Pacific and Hawaiian Air about flying the route and has asked Air New Zealand to extend the consultation period until early next year.

Tourism operators in Samoa and Tonga say the cancellation of the weekly service would be a major blow to the industry.