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Suspension of flights between 2Samoas spells trouble for Manu’a

Samoa Airways logo

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the suspension of all flights from Samoa to American Samoa, under the Samoa government’s State of Emergency Declaration, that leaves no air service for the Manu’a island group, served by Samoa government owned Samoa Airways.

Samoa’s state of emergency, which became effective 12:01a.m Mar. 21st in Samoa (and Mar. 20th in American Samoa) is in “response to the Coronavirus (CODVID19) global crisis.”

The declaration closed Samoa’s borders to foreigners, allowing only returning citizens and residents of Samoa, with limited flights with New Zealand and one weekly flight with Australia.

Provision of the declaration further outlined flights “suspended until further notice” between Samoa and American Samoa, as well as flights between Samoa and Fiji and Tonga.

The inter Samoa air route is served by both Samoa Airways and Apia-based privately owned Talofa Airways. Both airlines were caught by surprise with the change and local airport officials say there were already passengers at the Pago Pago International Airport for the Talofa Airways first flight to Apia on Friday morning, when the official suspension of flights notice finally came through.

Samoa Airways, under a cabotage waiver by the federal government, operates flights between Tutuila and the Manu’a islands, but with the closing of air service between the two Samoas, that leaves no air service for Manu’a.

For ocean service, ASG’s two vessels are down for maintenance and it’s understood that the government is exploring options for ocean service to the island group.