Samoa's Polynesian Airlines has decided to return one of its two leased Boeing 737-800 aircraft to save money after the wordwide downturn in airtravel.
The Finance Minister, Misa Telefoni, said the problems faced by all airlines had been compounded by the war in Iraq, increasing global insecurity and the threat of the SARs virus.
Polynesia's second Boeing had been leased to Qantas until March, but with no other lease agreements in the offing it was decided to let the aircraft go.
The Samoan government believes Polynesian is indispensable to the development of tourism, which earned a hundred and fifty million dollars for the country last year.
But the leader of the Opposition, Le Mamea Ropati, has criticised the nineteen and a half million that goes towards the airline.
He said the government's support for the airline meant is had less money to improve such things as schools and hospitals.