(GOVT. PRESS SECRETARIAT- Brisbane); The reigning Miss Samoa Australia Erin Noelani Taefu has put her weight behind the Faleolo-Brisbane-Faleolo bi-weekly flights saying it’s the answer to prayers by many Samoans residing Queensland.
“Whenever there is a faalavelave back home, you can hear my parents (Mrs Maletina Taefu & Taefu Patea Taefu) itching to go but expensive air fares prevented them from travelling most of the time,” says the 18 year old.
“This is the predicament faced by us Samoans because we travel a lot when there’s a funeral, wedding or even dedication of churches or schools back home, No go is not an option for our parents and elders.”
But with the direct from Faleolo- Brisbane and return, “problems solved,” says the Beauty Queen encouraging her fellow countrymen and women to embrace and support the national carrier.
“Samoa Airways is our national pride and deserves our unconditional support.
“The Government also deserves a standing ovation for reaching out to make travelling back home for our people overseas affordable and convenient.”
She says that the embarrassing verbal abused faced by the Prime Minister is uncalled for and it does not represent the genuine support by the majority of Samoans in Brisbane.
“He is our leader and should be respected as such,” she added.
She is looking forward to the end of the year holiday’s mea-alofa fare as plans are in the air for a family trip home to spend Christmas and New Years in Samoa.
“Before we had no options when it comes to going home for the holidays but with Samoa Airways and their low air-fares the possibilities are endless,” she adds.
Miss Samoa Brisbane is one of nine contestants who competed in the first ever Miss Samoa Pageant to be staged in Savaii earlier this year.
And her support is appreciated by the Airlines Chief Executive Officer Seiuli Alvin Tuala.
“I appreciate the public apprehensions raised because Samoa Airways is the people’s airline.
“I also welcome the constructive criticisms voiced virally in the infant days of the airline because it’s just the beginning and the more the critics voice their say it serves as a constant reminder for the resurrected national carrier to fly away from mistakes of the past. It also gives me and management strategies on how best to remedy and alleviate the constructive and not so constructive feedback.
“At the end of the day, Samoa Airways is about our identity as Samoans worldwide. “Our commitment will not be defeated by the obsession of a few whose ultimate mission is to criticize for the sake of criticizing for personal recognition and of course making headlines for a financial gain.”
Seiuli noted that while the positive encouragements is greatly appreciated, there is always room for improvements.
“Getting Samoa Airways off the ground in six months is a miracle to say the least,” he admits. “But there is more to a book than its cover. For a single aircraft airline to be competitive, it needs time to mature, to crawl before it walks.”
Then there is the zero no tolerance no credit policy which is also enforced to the letter including all airline staff, says Seiuli.
“The no credit policy without exceptions is endorsed by the Prime Minister. It is real and not a promotional policy. And forget the FOC policy because its cash up front from now on.
“If you are truly a Samoa Airways patriot please don’t bother asking for credit,” says Seiuli.
He does not want to make promises of where Samoa Airways will from now saying that the airlines have set targets to chase which includes more aircrafts and new destinations.
“At the end of the day, Samoa Airways survival depends on the support of Samoans here and abroad,” added Seiuli.
“Like our Manu Samoa, Samoa Airways is about survival against all odds.”