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US-DOT renews Samoa Airways’ cabotage exemption for Manu'a travel

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The U.S Transportation Department (USDOT) approved on Jan. 26, Polynesian Limited d/b/a Samoa Airways’ application for renewal of its cabotage exemption to continue flight operations between Tutuila and the Manu’a island group.

The Samoa government owned airline’s previous exemption expired on Jan. 27 and the airline sought a 12-month renewal, utilizing its 19-seat Twin-Otter aircraft to operate three to five weekly flights depending on the needs of island residents and shippers and aircraft availability as well as medical evacuation and other emergency flights as needed — and that additional flights will be scheduled if needed.

In its decision, USDOT granted Samoa Airways’ request for a period of 180 days — from Jan. 28, 2022 through July 26, 2022 and deferred action on the remaining portion of Samoa Airways’ application — operating beyond July 26.

USDOT said the grant of approval is “in the public interest” and noted the absence of U.S. carrier passenger service for this route.

A 2018 federal law authorizes USDOT to renew for not more than 180 days cabotage exemptions for air transportation in American Samoa between the islands of Tutuila and Manu’a.