2 Dec 2008

Samoan MP opposed to reopening of Fagali'i airport

11:17 am on 2 December 2008

The former Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Airport Authority, MP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, has come out strongly against the reopening of Fagali'i Airport.

Lealailepule was with the Authority at the time government decided to close the airport at the end of 2004.

However Samoa's Cabinet has appointed a sub-committee, chaired by the Polynesian Airlines boss, Taua Fatu Tielu, to look into reopening Fagali'i as a privately run domestic airport.

Lealailepule, who is also the Chairman of the Tautua Samoa political party, told the Newsline newspaper that the airport was closed because of safety issues.

The main safety issues were the location of the airport next to a village, the fact that the runway was deemed too short, and also that valleys on both sides of the airport also posed a safety threat.

While Polynesian Airlines Twin Otter aircraft can land at Fagali'i airstrip, the other two carriers flying between Samoa and American Samoa - Inter Island Air and South Pacific Express Inc - say their larger aircraft can't land there.