Enjoy our 61st Independence Celebrations and Check Your Travel Insurance Policy is in Order

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01 June 2023 Apia Samoa. Letter to the Editor by Leader of Human Rights Protection Party.

This is a very small reminder to all those who may wish to fly in and out of Fagalii Airport, reopened this week by Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa.

It was closed a few years ago following technical reports that the airport was too short, dangerous and unsuitable for the more modern small planes with greater speed capacity.

Even our small airport at Maota in Savaii is longer!

The engineering report on the closure of Fagalii are in Cabinet Files.

Hon Fiamē is aware of these challenges as she was my deputy at the time.

Minister Olo Fiti Va’ai also knows of these adverse reports being the Minister responsible for the Fagalii project.

Many near fatal accidents had occurred before the closure decision was made.

However, both the PM and Olo seem to have decided to hide this vital piece of information from the public.

The Fagalii Airport cannot be extended to the required distance for safe landing.

There is a deep valley, a flowing river and very tall trees at the eastern end of the runway while at the western end, there are families with modern homes, tall breadfruit trees and other tall communications structures.

Improvements Olo boasted about at the opening ceremony are all very tall ideas only.

For safety, every improvement must be made before, not after usage of the Airport.

Above all, we hear there is no clearance from the appropriate legal authorities for the reopening of Fagalii.

If there is one, publish it in the Observer for everyone to be convinced!

A recent interview by one of our pilots disclosed fear by our pilots to land at Fagalii with passengers.

Should there be a fatal accident, the liability to Government is enormous.

The rush by the PM and Cabinet to show off the reopening of the Airport to gain cheap political popularity, instead of prioritizing the safety of our people, is highly irresponsible.

It is why I recommend for everyone who wants to fly into or out of Fagalii Airport, must execute a travel insurance policy.

That way, should there be an unplanned departure to Paradise, the surviving children and relatives will at least be benefitting from the wisdom of our Government.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
Leader of HRPP