Insurance for Samoa Airways Boeing 77800 is paid by Iceland, the company which Samoa Airways is leasing its aircraft from, said the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during his weekly press conference.
He said that an earlier report written in the ‘Samoa Observer’ newspaper was inaccurate and the airline’s C.E.O. Seiuli Alvin Tuala would make sure the report was rectified.
“Insurance is in place in case of an incident, meaning if there is a fatality as a result of the incident, consumers can make claims and that is the purpose of the insurance.
“Insurance is paid for by the company that owns the airplane. Remember we are leasing the aircraft.
“The (Samoa Airways) C.E.O. informed me the report by the Samoa Observer is inaccurate and he will make sure the report is corrected and make a public announcement, given this is an important issue,” said the Prime Minister.
However the article, which the Prime Minister was referring to in the Samoa Observer, was taken directly from a press release issued from his own office.
The Ministry of Prime Minister’s and Cabinet’s Press Secretary had stated in a press release, the insurance was US$2 billion, an incorrect amount which was later corrected when the Samoa Observer spoke to Samoa Airways C.E.O. Seiuli.
Seiuli rectified the figures and said it is US$1billion (T$2.4m) hull insurance, consisting of US$750 million (T$1.9 billion) for third party liability and US$250 million (T$643 million) for passenger liability.
Seiuli told the Samoa Observer the inaccurate information provided through the government press release was due to “the lack of fact checking by the Press Secretary.
Tuilaepa claims that no airline will take the commercial route unless they are insured.
“If an incident occurs the airline will be sued and of course the government will be affected.
“That is why this is a priority for the Airline Management and as announced earlier, the airplane is insured and it cannot fly commercially unless it is insured,” said the Prime Minister.
“Insurance is extremely expensive nowadays because everyone slaps the airline with a lawsuit whenever there is an incident especially where there are fatalities,” he said.
It is unclear who the insurance company the Samoa Airways Boeing 77800 is with as Samoa Airways Marketing Manager and Communication Specialists, Dwayne Bentley, did not provide any comment.
Samoa Observer had asked Mr. Bentley which company the airline is insured with and he simply replied the insurance was in place.
“Further to the below, aviation insurance cover is in place and is a mandatory requirement in the highly regulated airline industry.
“This was vetted as part of the airline’s application to provide air services, which has since been granted by the regulatory authorities in Samoa, New Zealand and Australia,” said Mr. Bentley.
Last week Seiuli stated as an aviation professional and having being involved in aviation law, safety and security for many years, he was well aware of the concerns of the travelling public when it comes to airline safety.
“I ask myself the question every time I go out to the airport or when I am onboard. Would I take my family on our aircraft?
“The answer is always “yes” because I know the work that is being done by the engineers and the maintenance teams in New Zealand and Australia, including the pilots, to ensure that safety and security is paramount at all times and will never be compromised.
“Aviation is one of the most highly-regulated industries in the world. Compliance is expensive but has to be done at all times without fail,” he said.