Friday's repatriation flight to Samoa postponed
Apia, SAMOA — The repatriation flight originally announced by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi to be scheduled for the 19th of May, then rescheduled to this Friday 22nd May has once again been postponed by a further seven days to next Friday 29th of May.
Potential passengers have been told that the postponement is to allow time to fulfill the entry requirements into Samoa. One of the requirements listed on the State of Emergency Orders is for all passengers to have a negative COVID-19 test result that is not more than three days old.
According to the Samoa Prime Minister, over 900 Samoan citizens stranded in New Zealand have registered their interest to return to Samoa. He also says there are only 150 seats available on this first flight.
It is unclear as to who has the final say in the chosen 150 to be repatriated on this first flight since the closure of borders.
The Samoa State of Emergency Orders refers to priority given to citizens who held confirmed tickets to Samoa before the border lockdown. Samoan citizens with expired NZ visitor visas were also listed as priority, however, it is a commercial flight and passengers would need to purchase an Air New Zealand ticket of they had originally travelled on Samoa Airways.
Some travellers who had been preparing for the Friday 22nd flight say they had taken COVID-19 tests in the past 48 hours, which will now be of no use to them, wirh the flight postponement.