US DoT grants request for Samoa Airways to operate intra American Samoa services

    US Department of Transportation (US DoT) granted (12-Fb-2018) a request by Polynesian Limited, trading as Samoa Airways, to operate proposed intra American Samoa services, using its 19 seat Twin Otter aircraft, for a period of 30 days (13-Feb-2018 through 14-Mar-2018) or until five days after a US carrier initiates intra American Samoa passenger operations, whichever occurs first. It added: “We are deferring action on the remaining portion of Samoa Airways’ application, that is, its request for authority to operate beyond March 14, 2018”. US DoT added: “The absence of US carrier passenger service, with no such service foreseeable in the near future, continues to constitute an emergency created by unusual circumstances not arising in the normal course of business. Based on the record in this proceeding, we concluded that no US carrier had aircraft available that could be used to conduct the operations at issue here. We also found that grant of this authority would prevent unreasonable hardship to the residents of American Samoa”. The carrier had sought to operate for a period of twelve months beginning 13-Feb-2018. Samoa Airways, in its request, stated that Inter Island Airways Incpreviously provided this service however has ceased service, meaning there is currently no service between Pago Pago and the Manu’a Islands, creating severe hardships for residents. Samoa Airways served its application on Hawaiian AirlinesUnited Airlines and the National Air Carrier Association. Each party indicated that it had no comment or did not oppose grant of the requested authority. [more – original PR]