17 Feb 2009

Samoa's Minister of Tourism assures NZ it will promote flights

11:18 am on 17 February 2009

Samoa's Minister of Tourism, Misa Telefoni, has assured the New Zealand Government that Samoa will make every effort possible to promote Air New Zealand's Apia-Los Angeles flight.

The idea is to reduce as much as possible any potential sums New Zealand may have to pay for losses made on the weekly flight.

Under an agreement signed in Apia, labelled the Tamarina Agreement, New Zealand will pay for any losses on the flight for one year.

Air NZ announced last year said it would withdraw the flight, which includes Tonga unless the two Pacific countries agreed to subsidize the flight.

Last week, Misa committed Samoa in writing to do its best to promote the route, thereby reducing any potential liability to New Zealand.

The letter was handed to visiting New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, during his recent visit to Samoa.

One of the measures which Misa has committed to is the appointment of a full-time American Samoa representative, whose core function will be to promote the Apia-LA-Apia flights.