View Full Version : Talofa Airways, Samoa to launch

Maisk Rotum
12th Jul 2016, 21:04
Here is the press release from the Samoa Observer;

Talofa Airways Ltd, soon to make its mark in the region, has acquired two twin Commander aircrafts from the United States of America as it gears up for its official launch. The planes have arrived and are at the Faleolo International Airport.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Airline Advisor, Toleafoa Jeffrey Hunter said the airline is in its final stages and admitted that it has been a “painful process”.

“We already have the local certificate to allow operation,” he said.

“The last part is we are waiting for foreign permit from America and Tonga to allow us to operate scheduled services into those places to American Samoa and Tonga. “Those things can take up to months, it’s just a matter of waiting.” Once the paperwork is sorted, the airline will take off. About the twin Commanders, Toleafoa said the cost is in the “millions”.

“Aeroplanes are expensive and very sensitive equipments,” he said.

“Because of the safety we had to make sure that the plane is air worthy to fly and so that it does not compromise the safety of the passengers. “It’s a nine seater and the route will be Tonga and American Samoa and we can look at expanding depending on the beginning (of operation).”

Once Talofa Airways begins flying it will be the third locally operated airline alongside Polynesian Airlines and Samoa Air.

And this is from savalinews.com;

Owned by aviation baron Toleafoa Jeffrey Hunter and wife Maria, Talofa Airways is looking to start schedule domestic flights in April between Fagali’i, Maota and Asau Savaii initially before expanding to Pago Pago in American Samoa, Tonga and Niue during the second half of the year.

Now here's a coupla questions for anyone who has flown these aircraft; can it realistically operate out of Fagali'i, a 670 metre strip? Big bods in Samoa. Has anyone ever operated these as airliners?

tail wheel
12th Jul 2016, 22:13
About the twin Commanders, Toleafoa said the cost is in the “millions”.

Must have paid for the Turbine Commanders in Philippine Pesos or Indonesian Rupiah?

12th Jul 2016, 22:47
Having flown off Fagali'i, and flown AC680FL's, I would think there will be a lot of rectum contractus getting to the end of the take off run. The 680fl's could accommodate nine Japanese tourists quite comfortably, but nine average Samoans????

Capt Fathom
13th Jul 2016, 01:11
The photo I saw was of a 690 (840?) in Talofa Airways colour scheme!

tail wheel
13th Jul 2016, 01:21
I recall loading nine Tongan passengers into an aircraft at Nuku'Alofa and the lightest passenger was a lad weighing 109 kg. And the cargo they check in.......... :ugh:

Unless the RPT airfares are outrageously high, I really don't know how any turbine aircraft can be profitable with less than 16 passenger seats.

13th Jul 2016, 04:47
Have a look at twin commanders on line magazine there is a picture of three Samoans sitting across the back seat (just).

They also use commenter seating on these aircraft

I have the same cabin profile and no way can you operate with more than 7 pax plus pilot

As for operating distance the 690 is reasonable for runway operation, but I'd question why not use a beech 200 with high density

tail wheel
16th Jul 2016, 00:41
........ but I'd question why not use a beech 200 with high density

The usual reason - on average the Beech 200 is up to three times the capital cost of an Aero Commander 690/695.

Fagali’i: 670 meters

Maota: "The airport has a short runway which can only handle Twin Otters and other small passenger aircraft."

Asau: "There is only one rigid and roughly surfaced runway. Only Twin Otter and Britten-Norman Islander planes can land and take off this small airport, generally because the runway and tarmac cannot handle any other larger and heavier aircraft."

And they intend operating Twin Commanders in Islander and Twin Otter territory? :confused:

16th Jul 2016, 09:27
And I remember at least one islander going off-road at Fagali'i, so an aero commander is going to be exciting!

I wonder what aviation advisor told them they could operate an aero commander RPT from Samoa to Niue and Tonga? It was painful enough in a 737 let alone in something like an aerocommander.

The first etops aerocommander :)

Maisk Rotum
17th Jul 2016, 21:30
The aviation advisor is the aforesaid "Baron".

I threw this out there to see the reaction to the fallacy of operating such an aircraft into such short strips and long interisland sectors with such a limited cabin size given the genealogy of the Polynesian people.

After the first scare at MTOW/MLW at Fagali'i any pilot worth his salt would give it up.

Thereafter he will have to withdraw to the long strip at Faleolo, killing his business case.

Moreover he is luring young pilots into the right seat with no legal way to log the hours. Its a single pilot airplane.

18th Jul 2016, 23:30
I believe they are also looking at IFR procedures at Fagali'i .... eek