Samoa Airways has issued a media statement in efforts to explain why the online booking system is currently taking flight confirmations despite the airline not having an aircraft.
The national carrier had, until recently, wet-leased a B737-800 from Malaysian carrier Milando.
However, since the closure of Samoa’s borders to international commercial passenger flights on March 26 due to the coronavirus global pandemic, the leased Milando jet was not being used.
At the time, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the media that the indefinite suspension of scheduled flights has provided Samoa Airways with the perfect opportunity to release its current contract and look for a better deal.
In a media statement this week, Samoa Airways CEO Tupuivao Seiuli Alvin Tuala confirms that their online booking system “continues to be live with flights available from July 2020 onwards”.
In terms of a jet, Tupuivao says that they are currently in the process of negotiating an aircraft and are working to have that ready for when borders are re-opened.
“Samoa Airways will release a separate statement once negotiations are complete”, he says.
The airline had withdrawn all services until the end of June 2020 to comply with flight bans and say the situation will be closely monitored.
The CEO does confirm that Samoa Airways may need to extend flight cancellations beyond June 2020 should the Samoa government travel ban continue for the protection of it’s people from COVID-19.
“..further review will be undertaken again next month in consultation with our Government”.
In the event that Samoa’s international borders remain closed after June 2020 – customers who book from July onwards can also receive refund vouchers.
“For flights booked after 03 July 2020, the airline confirms that the process of receiving a refund travel voucher is the same as that which applies now for those who had booked for March-June”.
For customers with issued tickets before the lockdown, the media statement says they are subject to waivers already in place and, “..this information is provided on our website”.
The airline’s website will continue to be active to keep customers informed with up to date information regarding travel notices.
Tupuivao adds, “It is also important to note that aside from Samoa Airways other airlines also continue to sell their services to/from Apia on their own websites, some as early as June 2020.”
“We encourage the public to keep well-informed about future travel notices by regularly checking the Samoa Airways website, in particular, our online central resource for Covid -19 related travel information: www.samoaairways.com/covid19/
Tupuivao Seiuli Alvin Tuala
CEO Samoa Airways.”