Samoa
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Positive public reaction to the re-opening of the Fagalii Airport

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 30 MAY 2023: The re-opening of the Fagalii Airport yesterday has received positive reactions from the public who took to social media to voice their appreciation and acknowledgment of the Government’s initiative to re-open the airport.

Before it was closed in December 2019, the Fagalii airport catered for 10 flights a day between the two Samoas.

Since the closure and the redirection of flights to Faleolo International Airport, only 6 flights per day were available between the two islands due to the distance.

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa said reopening the airport for a third time, maybe a lucky omen as she cut the ribbon to officially re-open the airport.

Fagalii PM cuts ribbon
Fagalii PM cuts ribbon

The Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa cutting the ribbon to re-open the Fagalii airport.

The Minister responsible for the airport, Olo Fiti Vaai said the reopening of Fagalii marks the accomplishment of one of the objectives in the Government’s Pathway for the Development of Samoa (PDS) to enhance and provide easy access for the people.

“For that reason, we are committed to making sure that it meets the highest Civil Aviation standards for safety and security,” said Olo.

Before its re-opening, the airport underwent two rehabilitation phases at a cost of $2.6 million tala.

One is that it must meet requirements under the Civil Aviation Rules & Regulations to ensure its operations are safe, efficient and secure.

The second phase was the expansion to the runway from 700 to 800 meters.

“This is essential to guarantee that aircrafts are able to operate to their full certified capacity and the additional expansion will enable us to extend services to other Pacific destinations,” said Olo.

He also said that this part of the work is very critical to the infrastructure of Samoa as the key link in Samoa’s connectivity to American Samoa and soon to the Pacific.

“The reopening of Fagalii Airport is a pivotal step and indication that Samoa can continue to develop and prosper,” he said.

Fagalii Olo Fiti Vaai
Fagalii Olo Fiti Vaai

The Minister of Civil Aviation, Olo Fiti Vaai says he is confident that the Fagali’i airport will be a great asset to Samoa and its people and he looks forward to seeing it thrive in the years to come.

New Zealand gifted X-Ray Scanner
The Minister also acknowledged the support and assistance of the New Zealand Government for the X-Ray Scanner equipment for the Fagalii airport. He said the scanner will further enhance border security.

Fagalii airport history
Fagalii airport was originally constructed in 1969, with the first commercial flights commencing in April 1970. It was then closed in January 2005 when Polynesian Airlines was no longer using suitable aircrafts to service Fagalii Airport.

Four years later, it was reopened by Polynesian Airlines on 1 July 2009 but it was shut down again on 31 December 2019.

“I am confident that this airport will be a great asset to Samoa and its people and I look forward to seeing it thrive in the years to come,” said Olo.

He then acknowledged the Ulia Construction company who worked tirelessly to complete it on time for the re-opening, the Alii ma Faipule of Fagalii for their support, Samoa Airport Authority Chairman and Board. Management and staff and all that contributed to the work.

Both Samoa Airways and Talofa Airlines operating at the airport, landed special flights to mark the airports re-opening.

At the end of the ceremony, the chiefs and orators of Fagalii made traditional presentations to the Government and acknowledge the developments re-opening that now boosts employment and businesses in the village.

Samoa Airport Authority presents $1.4 million dividend
The Minister also took the opportunity to present the present the Samoa Airport Authority’s cheque of $1.4 million dividend to the Government. He presented the cheque to the Minister of Government Private enterprises, Leatinu’u Wayne Sooialo.