Polynesian Airlines

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Polynesian Airlines.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1959
Hubs Fagali'i Airport, Apia
Secondary hubs Faleolo International Airport
Subsidiaries Polynesian Ground Handling
Fleet size 3
Destinations 7
Company slogan Airline of Samoa
Parent company Government of Samoa
Headquarters Apia, Samoa
Key people Alvin Tuala (CEO)
Website www.polynesianairlines.com

Polynesian Airlines is an airline based in Samoa. Its headquarters are located in the Samoa National Provident Fund (SNPF) Building on beach road in the capital, Apia.[1] Formerly a Pan-Pacific carrier, the establishment of Virgin Samoa (A partnership between Virgin Australia and the Government of Samoa), Polynesian Airlines has restricted itself to shorter flights to neighbouring islands as part of the agreement.[2] Polynesian's main operating base is Fagali'i Airport, Apia.


Polynesian Airlines' Percival Prince

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]


DHC6 Twin Otter Fagali'i, Apia SAMOA

As of July 2015, the airline operates scheduled services between Fagali'i Airport, Faleolo Airport, Maota Airport and Pago Pago International Airport. More recently, since the cessation of Inter Island Airways services from Pago Pago, Polynesian also provides multi-weekly services to Ta'u (Fitiuta) and a weekly service to Ofu-Olosega islands of the Manu'a island group.[4] using a fleet of three de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft with 19 seats each. The airline plans to resume flights to New Zealand using a Solomon Airlines Airbus aircraft in late 2015, a breakaway from the company's historic Boeing-Based Jet operation.[5]

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]


The Polynesian Airlines fleet comprises the following aircraft (as of August 2016):[7]

Polynesian Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In
Orders Passengers Notes
De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter 3
Total 3

Aircraft previously operated by the airline include: Douglas DC3; GAF Nomad; Hawker Siddeley HS 748; de Havilland Canada DHC-8-100; Boeing 737-200; Boeing 737-300; Boeing 737-800; Boeing 727-200; Boeing 767-300 and 767-200; and Britten Norman Islander.

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.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.[11]


  1. ^ "Our Company" - Polynesian Airlines website retrieved 25 May 2011
  2. ^ Polynesian Airlines accessed 25 November 2008
  3. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-10. p. 65. 
  4. ^ Polynesian Airlines 2015 schedule retrieved 4 July 2015
  5. ^ "Polynesian Airlines to re-open flights to NZ". Radio New Zealand. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Polynesian Airlines July 2007
  7. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2016 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2016): 30. 
  8. ^ Harro Ranter (11 May 1966). "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas R4D-5 (DC-3) 5W-FAB Apolima Strait". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "5W-FAC Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Harro Ranter (20 August 1988). "ASN Aircraft accident Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander 5W-FAF Asau Airport (AAU)". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Harro Ranter (7 January 1997). "ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 5W-FAU Apia-Fagali'i Airport (FGI)". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 

External links[edit]