Samoa Airways is close to finalising arrangements with full-service Malaysian carrier Malindo Air to lease a Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft, to operate its flights between Apia, Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane.
‘The 737-800NG is the same aircraft type that our Italian operator, NEOS used for Samoa Airways flights from November 2017. It is has a proven record and is operated by many airlines around the world’, stated Samoa Airways’ CEO Tupuivao Seiuli Alvin Tuala.
The Malindo Air 737-800NG aircraft is 3 years old and features 150 Economy Class seats and 12 seats in Business Class.
Malindo Air operates more than 800 weekly flights across South East Asia as well as Perth, Melbourne
The lease comes after the existing arrangement with Italian airline NEOS ends on 31st March.
Seiuli said they have been working hard to secure a replacement aircraft.
“Our lease with NEOS couldn’t be extended and with the global grounding of the MAX 8 aircraft, there is a huge worldwide shortage of narrow-body aircraft as airlines scramble to consolidate their schedules using their existing fleets and short-term leases from other operators”, he said.
The Samoan national airline and Malindo Air are working closely with the civil aviation authorities of Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia
“Safety is of paramount importance to us and until the clearances have been obtained, we have unfortunately had to cancel some of our flights in the first week of April and re-route our customers on to other airlines operating into Samoa to minimise any further disruption to their travel plans”, said Seiuli.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused and our team is contacting affected customers and our trade partners, to inform them about alternative arrangements as we transition to operating with the replacement aircraft”, added Seiuli.