Samoa Airways Twin Otter on Route to Canada for Repairs

"The project will cost Samoa Airways USD$2.5 million per aircraft, funded by the Airline and loan financing,"

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Apia – Samoa, 25 May, 2024 – After a 15-hour direct flight from Faleolo, one of Samoa Airways’ three Twin Otters bearing the registration 5W FAW landed safely at Hilo Airport on its route to Calgary, Canada.

The aircraft is scheduled to undergo a complete retrofit as part of a project led by the National Carrier to ensure its continued service to and from American Samoa.

Two pilots from Planes and Parts Ltd, a Canadian company conducting the ferry services for the Aircraft from Apia to Canada and back, spent two days in Samoa collaborating with Samoa Airways Technical staff.

Samoa Airways Twin Otters servicing the route between Upolu and American Samoa.

Together, they prepared the aircraft and installed three inflatable fuel tanks to ensure an adequate fuel supply for the flight from Faleolo to Hilo, Hawaii.

The pilots will refuel in Hilo, rest, and then proceed to Santa Maria, California, before reaching their final destination of Calgary, Canada.

Inflatable fuel tanks installed for the trip.

“This is an exciting time for Samoa Airways as we launch this new project to retrofit our aircraft to prioritize safety and reliability for the traveling public,” stated Fauo’o Taua Fatu Tielu, CEO of Samoa Airways.

“The aircraft is anticipated to return to Samoa around November this year, just in time for our bustling Christmas season.”

Last month, Samoa Airways signed a contract with Unity Aviation Canada Ltd to conduct the refurbishment works on two of our three aircrafts.

The scope of work includes a complete rewiring and repair of the aircraft’s fuselage, wings, lower cowl, and engine harness.

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Additionally, any corrosion on the fuselage and wings will be addressed, and the aircraft will undergo disassembly for repainting and rewiring.

The cockpit will be replaced with a Garmin G1000 system excluding the autopilot option. All doors and seats will either be repaired or replaced, and various other necessary tasks will be completed to ensure the aircraft is rejuvenated and ready for extended future use.

“The project will cost Samoa Airways USD$2.5 million per aircraft, funded by the Airline and loan financing,” stated Fauoo.

“While it is a significant investment, it is money well spent considering the various mechanical and engineering tasks that Unity Aviation Canada Ltd will undertake while the aircraft is in Canada.”

Fauoo elaborated, “these tasks include a complete dinitrol of the fuselage, wings, and flight controls, conducting SIE wing relief and licensing fees for the left-hand and right-hand wings, replacing existing seats, renewing the cabin interior and floor, fully stripping and repainting the aircraft, as well as other necessary maintenance procedures.”

Samoa Airways’ Manager of Safety and Quality Systems, along with a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME), will journey to Canada to collaborate with Unity Aviation Canada Limited during the disassembly of the aircraft.

They will return later in the year to oversee the assembly process before the aircraft flies back to Apia.

Aircraft maintenance engineers and pilots will also be sent to Canada during the refurbishment process and before the aircraft is flown back to Samoa to be trained on the required maintenance and operation processes and procedures of the refurbished aircraft.

The next twin otter aircraft is expected to be ferried to Canada next year around January 2025.