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Polynesian Blue Boosts Tourism And Records A NZD$1.19 Million Maiden Profit
12 September 2006: Polynesian Blue, the joint venture airline of the Government of Samoa and Virgin Blue Airlines, has announced a pre-tax profit of NZD $1.19 million (approximately 2.22 million Tala#) for the period 30 October 2005 to June 2006.
The immediate success of Polynesian Blue has almost certainly contributed to the 18% increase in Samoan tourism earnings, equal to 22.9 million Tala, achieved over the period November 2005 to June 2006^. Polynesian Blue was launched in October 2005 at the initiative of the Government of Samoa which sought a private sector partner in a new international airline for Samoa. The Government of Samoa had previously injected close to $200 million Tala into Polynesian Airlines over a ten year period.
Commenting on the result, The Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, said, “Virgin Blue’s commitment to this partnership has been much appreciated and the joint venture model is a shining ‘pacific’ star, not just for Samoa itself but for Samoan’s throughout the region.”
He continued, “The profitability of Polynesian Blue is a clear indication the joint venture model is successful in the market and we are confident this trend will continue. This is the first time in a decade that the Government has been in a position to progressively re-direct critical funds to health, education and other essential services rather than prop up Polynesian Airlines with taxpayer money. We are delighted that our decision to work with Virgin Blue has had such a positive impact on Samoa through increased tourism and economic benefits.”
Polynesian Blue has played a major role in stimulating travel to and from Samoa according to the latest statistics which show strong growth, particularly to and from Australia. Total visitor arrivals for the period November 2005 to June 2006 increased by 18.4%, compared to an average annual growth over the previous ten years of just 3.9%.*
Market Growth Statistics – Period November 2005 – June 2006*
Ex NZ to Samoa +23% (holiday arrivals +37%)
Ex Aust to Samoa +38% (holiday arrivals +101%)
Ex Samoa to Aust +27%
Ex Samoa to NZ +13%
Virgin Blue Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “The bold vision of the Prime Minister and the Samoan Government should be applauded for locking in essential air services while at the same time, mitigating the ongoing exposure associated with a national liability. We are both proud and humble in our association with the people of Samoa and its successful airline.”
“This is a tremendous result for an operation that is less than 12 months old and demonstrates the economic, tourism and social benefits that can be generated by dynamic partnerships.”
Polynesian Blue’s strategy to offer affordable fares, combined with convenient non-stop services from both Australia and New Zealand to Samoa has been strongly supported by the travelling public. The airline now offers three direct flights weekly from Sydney and four direct services weekly from Auckland. The airline will increase capacity to offer five direct flights a week between Apia and Auckland from 4 November, 2006. The former Polynesian Airlines operated flights to and from Samoa mainly via Tonga and Niue.
Following the success of the Polynesian Blue model, Virgin Blue is considering other opportunities for joint ventures in the South Pacific region.
# Based on the average exchange rate for the period October 2005 to June 2006. ^ Compared to Samoan tourism earnings for the period November 2004 to June 2005. Source: Central Bank of Samoa. * Sources: Samoa Tourism Authority, National Department of Statistics Samoa, Department of Immigration Australia and Statistics New Zealand.
Polynesian Blue is a joint venture between Virgin Blue and the Government of Samoa. For Polynesian Blue bookings, contact your travel agent or log onto www.polynesianblue.com. Flights are offered by Polynesian Blue Limited using Pacific Blue Airlines (NZ) Limited aircraft.