25 Jul 2011

Seat size made Apia-Los Angeles flight a losing proposition: Tuilaepa

12:45 pm on 25 July 2011

Samoa's Prime Minister says the small seats on the aircraft used on the discontinued flight between Apia and Los Angeles made it a losing proposition from the start.

Air New Zealand's final flight in January on the Tonga-Samoa-United States route followed years of losses and government subsidies.

Tourism operators in Apia say the decision's damaged the industry and Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says Air New Zealand never wanted it to work.

"Why the flight was not profitable was that Air New Zealand flew this 767 with seats about this narrow and we are that large. So we sit on top of the arm rests all the time from here to the States. And we found that oversized Americans were also doing the same, and New Zealanders."

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says Air New Zealand's bosses had never flown in the 767, only the 747.