Miss Samoa Brisbane with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi and Mrs. Jillian Malielegaoi at the launching of the Samoa Airways direct services to Brisbane in Logan.

The reigning Miss Samoa Australia Erin Noelani Taefu has put her weight behind the Faleolo-Brisbane-Faleolo bi-weekly flights saying it’s the answer to prayers by many Samoans residing Queensland.

“Whenever there is a faalavelave back home, you can hear my parents itching to go but expensive air fares prevented them from travelling most of the time,” says the 18 year old.

“This is the predicament faced by us Samoans because we travel a lot when there’s a funeral, wedding or even dedication of churches or schools back home, ‘Not going’ is not an option for our parents and elders.”

But with direct flights from Faleolo-Brisbane and return, the beauty queen says there is a sense of relief in the air.  She encourages her fellow countrymen and women to embrace and support the national carrier.

“Samoa Airways is our national pride and deserves our unconditional support.

“The Government also deserves a standing ovation for reaching out to make travelling back home for our people overseas affordable and convenient.”

She says that the embarrassing verbal abused faced by the Prime Minister is uncalled for and it does not represent the genuine support by the majority of Samoans in Brisbane.

“He is our leader and should be respected as such,” she added.

Her support is appreciated by the Airlines Chief Executive Officer Seiuli Alvin Tuala.

“I appreciate the public apprehensions raised because Samoa Airways is the people’s airline.

“I also welcome the constructive criticisms voiced virally in the infant days of the airline because it’s just the beginning and the more the critics voice their say it serves as a constant reminder for the resurrected national carrier to fly away from mistakes of the past. It also gives me and management strategies on how best to remedy and alleviate the constructive and not so constructive feedback.

“At the end of the day, Samoa Airways is about our identity as Samoans worldwide. “Our commitment will not be defeated by the obsession of a few whose ultimate mission is to criticize for the sake of criticizing for personal recognition and of course making headlines for a financial gain.”

Seiuli Alvin Tuala, (left) Samoa Airways Chief Executive with Lavea Iulai Chief Executive for the Ministry of Finance at the airlines launching event

Seiuli noted that while the positive encouragements is greatly appreciated, there is always room for improvements.

“Getting Samoa Airways off the ground in six months is a miracle to say the least,” he admits. “But there is more to a book than its cover. For a single aircraft airline to be competitive, it needs time to mature, to crawl before it walks.”

Then there is the zero no tolerance no credit policy which is also enforced to the letter including all airline staff, says Seiuli.

“The no credit policy without exceptions is endorsed by the Prime Minister. It is real and not a promotional policy. And forget the FOC policy because it’s cash up front from now on.

“If you are truly a Samoa Airways patriot please don’t bother asking for credit,” says Seiuli.

He does not want to make promises of where Samoa Airways objectives saying that the airlines have set targets to chase which includes more aircrafts and new destinations.

“At the end of the day, Samoa Airways survival depends on the support of Samoans here and abroad,” added Seiuli.

“Like our Manu Samoa, Samoa Airways is about survival against all odds.”

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