Samoan airline suspends operations

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WELLINGTON – The Samoan airline, South Pacific Express, or SPEX, has suspended flight operations.

The airline’s Chief Executive Officer, John McNeely, said in a statement on Tuesday that flight operations have been placed on hold.

He said this decision was difficult to make but continued economic deterioration within American Samoa and Samoa has provided no alternative.

SPEX flew its first commercial flight in December 2005.

The airline employed about 18 staff in American Samoa and slightly fewer in Samoa.

A year ago the airline incorporated in Samoa and switched its headquarters from Pago Pago of American Samoa to Samoa’s Apia.

The suspension of SPEX flights leaves only Polynesian and Inter Island Air flying between Samoa and American Samoa.