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Hawaiian adds over a dozen extra flights for summer

Hawaiian Airlines is adding more than a dozen extra flights between Honolulu and Pago Pago for the summer months.


In addition, to the current two flights a week on Mondays and Fridays, Hawaiian has added extra Wednesday flights from May 25 to Aug. 10, as well as two Sunday flights on June 8 and July 31, airline spokesperson Ann Botticelli told Samoa News.


“This amounts to an additional four-flights over last year and eight-flights over the summer of 2014, when we were woefully short of capacity,” Botticelli said via email yesterday from Washington D.C. where she is attending meetings. “We recognize this is a big year for church conferences, and so we are preparing for that with the extra flights.”


Besides church conferences, the summer is also the time for family reunions and other events for Samoan families both in the territory and in the US, keeping the Pago Pago-Honolulu route very busy.




And this year, there will be an added passenger load when the American Samoa delegation including artists, a cultural performance student group from Fa’asao Marist High School and officials head to Guam for the12th Festival of the Pacific Arts from May 22-June 4.


Arts Council executive director Uta Dr. Laloulu Tagoilelagi said the local delegation is expected to be more than 70 people, but the final count for the delegation is not expected until after this year’s Flag Day next month.


Last Saturday, the Arts Council — with the support of others and Fa’asao Marist students — held a radiothon fundraising event to help raise money to send the local delegation to Guam and Uta said more than $16,000 in cash was collected on the day of the fundraiser. The Arts Council is working on collecting cash from pledges made Saturday and if the pledges are all collected, Uta said they are looking at over $17,000 raised but the final numbers were still being tallied as of Tuesday this week.


Uta estimates that it will cost around $200,000 to send the local delegation to Guam, whose government has sent a letter of invitation to Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga to attend the Arts Festival and Lolo has accepted the invitation.


Guam’s organizing committee says a delegation of 2,500 performers, artists and cultural practitioners from 27 Pacific island nations and territories are expected for the festival, which is held every four years.


American Samoa hosted the 10th Arts Festival in 2008 — and that was the year Guam was named the host country for the 12th Arts Festival. Four years ago, the festival was hosted by Solomon Islands.




Meanwhile, American Samoa Visitors Bureau says the agency is again partnering with Hawaiian Airlines this month to showcase the territory at the Travel & Adventure Shows in Santa Clara, California from March 5-6 and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from March 19-20.


And visitors to the American Samoa booths at both travel shows will receive Hawaiian Air discount e-certificates of $300 off Business Class or $100 off Economy Class round trip web-fares from the airline’s US mainland destinations to Pago Pago, according to the Visitors Bureau in its March newsletter.


Additionally, the Visitors Bureau will join other members of the South Pacific Cruise Alliance (SPCA) for the annual Seatrade Cruise Global Convention — formerly Cruise Shipping Miami — in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from March 14-17, to showcase Pacific Islands as unique cruise destinations. SPCA members will have meetings with various cruise line executives during the event.


Attendance of Visitors Bureau staff at past cruise ship conventions in Florida has helped increase the number of vessels calling into the Port of Pago Pago. This year, 16 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Pago Pago, with four last month and four again this month.


Last year, 18 vessels were confirmed but only 16 visited because two cruise ships skipped American Samoa due to very severe bad weather.