Stay focused, work hard and you’ll get there Samoa Airways

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Dear Editor,

Re: A year after dumping Virgin Australia, how fares P.M. Tuilaepa’s Govt.’s airline dreams today

Don’t lose hope Samoa. 

Samoa Airways is one of the best decisions to come out from the Tuilaepa government. It’s cut-throat in the airlines business but given the performance of the JV with Virgin in the last 12 years, it’s a no-brainer to ditch it. 

And Virgin and Air NZ will no doubt have in their whiteboards the ‘full assault sprint’ to kill Samoa Airways. 

But this is the digital era and every business has to re-strategize and transform into a digital business. I say, ‘Samoa Airways, you may have the upper-hand over Virgin and Air NZ’ given that you have to re-invent and re-create and start from scratch. 

Sometimes, that means no legacies or old compatibility arrangements. 

Go hard and fast and encapsulate the digital business paradigm shift into your business strategy. The rise of factories in the 19th century was based on water and coal power and straight-line assemblies. 

Electricity broke their limitations and changed the next industrialization wave. Today, it’s the digital era and Samoa with its modern infrastructure, submarine cables, competitive service operators and fast Internet is a break-through time for Samoa Airways to emerge. 

Samoa has a young, highly educated population - a major asset. 

Government has good and transparent policies and facilities in place for new businesses. We are good at attracting the foreign brains and resources that we need. Let’s dare to have a go.

Remember the 5 domains of digital transformation: 

1) Network your customers and market; 

2) This is the era of co-opetition not zero-sum competition - partnering Fiji Airways is great, now create your platform and see how some small companies have used that to leap-frog some established big entities; 

3) Data and volumes of them are available even free from Google analytics etc so make use of them; 

4) Innovate - you must storm the gates with a 100% digital transformation policy and mindset; 

5) Keep your values high and dominant, to serve Samoa, arrivals to Samoa - many times, if you can generate massive income for other sectors through your services to the two Samoas and the traveller transiting or arriving through Samoa, you are a winner already. 

Your value is first to the nation and its economic prosperity. Your prices are the cheapest in my analysis of all those flying to Samoa, with free meal and entertainment and smiling faces making your services the best.

Disruption is one other strategy available to you. 

Think how the digital camera killed Kodak even though they invented that technology. They were probably too scared to go for it. 

Management must take some very courageous decisions, and mitigate the risks. It’s not the technology that is most important - it is the organization’s ability to strike through and transform that will win or lose, and I believe the current Samoa Airways team has what it takes to survive and be a winner even with Virgin, Air NZ and some other new airlines operating to/from Samoa.

Notice how skype transformed communications; how Amazon online has changed the retail world and I am sure in this digital era, how the Amazon and Microsoft public clouds have changed computing. 

Some small airlines like Samoa Airways must believe in themselves like we do. If airline service to/from Samoa is a game, you know which team I will bet my money on.

To the government, persevere and sustain Samoa Airways. I believe. That new Faleolo airport terminal should feature Samoa Airways more than either Virgin or Air NZ. 

I want to bet that five years from now, I will see that.

 

Samuelu Taufao

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