Samoa Airways plans to start nonstop flights between Apia and Brisbane from November 13.
The airline said the new service would operate on Tuesdays and Sundays with its Boeing 737-800. Virgin Australia is currently the only carrier with nonstop flights between Apia and Brisbane.
Samoa Airways chief executive Tupuivao Seiluli Alvin Tuala said the new route was being launched in partnership with Brisbane Airport.
“The Brisbane area is home to a large Samoan population and I am particularly pleased that the national carrier, with the support of Brisbane Airport, is able to respond to calls by our community who travel frequently between Samoa, American Samoa and Brisbane for family, church and cultural obligations, for improved air access”, he said in a statement.
Brisbane Airport chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said Samoa Airways’ new service would boost business, education, health care and trade opportunities.
“Samoa is truly the heart of Polynesia and a place Australians want to visit to experience the breath-taking natural beauty, authentic culture and the warm and renowned Samoan hospitality,” de Graaff said.
“The new flights help maintain strong cultural familial ties, providing choice and convenience, while saving time and money as travellers are no longer forced to travel via another port.”
The Samoan government established Samoa Airways as the country’s national carrier in 2017 with a leased 737.
It currently serves Auckland and Sydney from its Apia hub, as well as Pago Pago in American Samoa from Fagali’i Airport. There are also a number of domestic routes within American Samoa with a Twin Otter turboprops.
The decision to launch a new carrier came after the Samoan government terminated the Virgin Samoa joint-venture with Virgin Australia that was first established in 2005. Media reports at the time said the decision to ditch the JV was due to concerns over high fares.
A memorandum of understanding with Fiji Airways was signed to help establish Samoa Airways.
Following the termination of the JV, Virgin Australia maintained services to the Pacific Islands nation with nonstop flights to Apia from Brisbane and Sydney.
However, the Samoan government denied Virgin Australia’s application to operate between Apia and Auckland.
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