Sydney Church Minister hails govt.'s airline vision

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SYDNEY LAUNCH: Samoa Airway’s Board Executive Tuia Paepae (left) networking with Rev. Siitia in Sydney, Australia during the airline’s launch last weekend.

SYDNEY LAUNCH: Samoa Airway’s Board Executive Tuia Paepae (left) networking with Rev. Siitia in Sydney, Australia during the airline’s launch last weekend.

A senior Samoan Church Minister in Sydney, Australia, has welcomed the revival of international flights by Polynesian Airlines under Samoa Airways.

Reverend Fa’auuga Si’itia of the Sydney-based Samoa Uniting Church, said the decision is a timely move.

Despite the criticisms, he said the “the long overdue direct flights between Samoa and Sydney” is music to the ears.

During the airline's Sydney launch, Rev. Si'itia said the topic of affordable airfares complemented by regular consistent flights between Sydney and Samoa are among the most highly debatable issues brainstormed by the Sydney Samoan community and even his congregation of a 100 plus for a long time.

And he confesses that he has lost count of how many times the issue of better airfares to travel to Samoa has been under the microscope. 

He has even personally witnessed prayers by Samoans in Sydney, calling on the Almighty for his divine intervention.

“If it’s God's will that Samoa Airways is the answer to our prayers then his will shall be done and it should never be questioned. Everything happens for a reason,” he is quoted as saying in a statement.

As a religious leader, he says that the concerns by Samoans are legitimate and his prayer is that Samoa Airways will not be a “fly by airline.”

“Consistent and affordable flights must be a priority,” he suggested.

“If Samoa Airways is for Samoans then it's pivotal for the national carrier is to cater for the needs of Samoans.

“We have endured and tolerated the second hand treatment with false and expensive offers. For Samoa Airways to win the confidence of the people, they need to deliver.”

Having said that, Rev. Siitia has a bone to pick with accusations that the former national carrier Polynesian Airlines’ failure is due to the astronomical unpaid airfares guaranteed by Samoan faifeaus. 

To this day the debts have not been settled.

 “Samoa has come of age and while it’s embarrassing to be pointed to, I urge the new airline management not to compromise their policy of no credit, no aitalafu,” he continued.  

“Pastors are not the same and should not be painted the same or labelled the same.  For many of us, we remain God fearing and I implore Samoa Airways never ever to make exceptions. Pay up front without compromise.”

He also endorses the meals for all on the flight.

“It’s unbecoming in our Samoa tradition for the privileged passengers to have a meal on flight. That is utterly ridiculous and demeaning to our cultural principles and ethics,” he said.

With 40,000 Samoans residing in Sydney alone, he is praying that they will hear the Samoa Airways appeal for the national carrier to accomplish her mission.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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