Samoa airline solves “nightmare route” between Tonga and two Samoas
By Alan Ah Mu
With the launch of their inaugural flight to Tonga, on Saturday, Talofa Airways aims to end tortuous and costly routes for customers.
Prior to their new service, travel to the Kingdom from American Samoa and Samoa was a “nightmare,” said Chief Financial Officer, Taua Fatu Tielu.
“For example if you want to go from Pago (American Samoa) to Vava’u (Tonga), you catch a flight from Pago to Fagali’i (Samoa), (on) to Faleolo (Samoa), take a flight from Faleolo to Auckland,” said Taua.
From Auckland another flight is taken to Tongatapu (Tonga) and from there to Vava’u required another flight of 40 minutes, he said.
The other option was to fly to Tonga from the two Samoas via Fiji.
Both options can take you 12 to 24 hours on between two and five different flights on an airfare which can be equivalent to flying to the United Kingdom and back.
“The airfare on Talofa Airways is also cheaper than going via Fiji or New Zealand,” Taua said.
Their core customers are Tongan and Samoan travellers between those three locations, including members of expatriate communities there who want to visit home for a short vacation.
Passengers on their inaugural flight on Saturday included four members of a family in Samoa going to attend a family reunion in Tonga and an American couple.
Talofa Airways will explore Niue, Wallis and Futuna and Pukapuka in the northern Cooks as possible future destinations.
In the meantime scheduled flights to Savai’i, the second most populous island of Samoa, remain non-viable “by miles” because of the competition from inter-island ferries, Taua said.
But chartered flights to the island are on offer.
Talofa Airways is an airline providing passenger and cargo services between Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga and other islands of the Pacific.