Polynesian Airlines

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Polynesian Airlines
Polynesian Airlines.png
Founded 1959
Hubs Fagali'i International Airport, Apia
Fleet size 2
Destinations 4
Company slogan Airline of Samoa
Parent company Government of Samoa
Headquarters Apia, Samoa
Key people Taua Fatu Tielu (CEO)
Website www.polynesianairlines.com

Polynesian Airlines is the national airline of Samoa and has its headquarters in the Samoa National Provident Fund Building in the capital, Apia.[1] It formerly flew all over the Pacific but with the establishment of Polynesian Blue (now Virgin Samoa) by the government and Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia), Polynesian Airlines has restricted itself to shorter flights to neighbouring islands.[2] Its main base is Fagali'i Airport, Apia.


A Polynesian Airlines DHC-8-100 at Faleolo International Airport (2007) Polynesian Airlines no longer flies this aircraft. Its present fleet consists of two DHC-6-300 prop planes.

The airline was established in 1959 and started operations in August 1959 with services between Apia and Pago Pago in American Samoa using a Percival Prince aircraft. The government of Western Samoa acquired a controlling interest in 1971. In 1982 Ansett Airlines of Australia signed a five year management contract with the government to run the airline. This was extended for a further ten years in 1987. In February 1995 a commercial alliance with Air New Zealand was signed to develop marketing, sales and operational relationships. International jet operations have been taken over by Polynesian Blue. The airline is wholly owned by the Government of Samoa, which also has a 49% holding in Polynesian Blue.[3]

Destinations and fleet[edit]

As of April 2015, the airline operates scheduled services between Fagali'i Airport, Faleolo Airport, Maota Airport and Pago Pago International Airport,[4] using a fleet of two de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft with 19 seats each.[1] The airline plans to resume charter flights to New Zealand using a Solomon Airlines aircraft in June 2015. [5]
Earlier aircraft operated by the airline include Douglas DC3; Hawker Siddeley HS 748; de Havilland Canada DHC-8-100; Boeing 737-200; Boeing 737-300; Boeing 737-800; Boeing 727-200; Boeing 767-200; Boeing 767-300 and Britten Norman Islander aircraft.

Earlier route network[edit]

Polynesian Airlines previously served the following international destinations: Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand; Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia; Rarotonga in the Cook Islands; Nuku'alofa in Tonga; Niue; Papeete in French Polynesia; and Honolulu and Los Angeles in the United States on a code share basis with Air New Zealand and in its own right with a leased Boeing 767 – an operation that bankrupted the airline.[6]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 11 May 1966 at around 18:10 local time, the three crew members operating a Polynesian Airlines Douglas R4D-5 (registered 5W-FAB) on training flight lost control of the aircraft when a door separated mid-flight over the Apolima Strait, by which the vertical stabilizer was damaged. There were no survivors of the subsequent crash.[7]
  • On 13 January 1970 at 02:54 local time, Polynesian Airlines Flight 208B, which was operated by a Douglas C-47B (registered 5W-FAC), crashed into the sea shortly after take-off from Faleolo International Airport on an international non-scheduled passenger flight to Pago Pago International Airport, American Samoa, killing the 29 passengers and three crew on board.[8]
  • On 20 August 1988, a Polynesian Airlines Britten-Norman Islander (registered 5W-FAF) was damaged beyond repair when it overshot the runway upon landing at Asau Airport.[9]
  • On 7 January 1997 at around 11:00 local time, a Polynesian Airlines Twin Otter crashed into Mount Vaea in Samoa during bad weather conditions, a so-called controlled flight into terrain. The aircraft had been operating Flight 211 from Pago Pago to Apia, when the pilots decided to divert to Faleolo Airport. In the crash, two of three passengers and one of the two pilots lost their lives.[10]


External links[edit]