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Polynesian Blue Flying High On Strong Profit And Tourism Figures, Airline Records NZD$5.36 Million Profit And Samoa Records 16.1% Increase In Total Visitor Arrivals From Australia And New Zealand

20/08/2007

After less than two years of operation, the joint venture airline between Virgin Blue Airlines and the Government of Samoa, Polynesian Blue, has more than tripled its maiden profit to record a pre-tax profit of NZD $5.363^ million ($10.5 million Tala) for the 12 months ended 30 June 2007. This is in comparison to last years' pre-tax profit of NZD $1.19 million for the period 1 October 2005 to 30 June 2006.


The result has been directly attributed to the strength of air travel to and from Samoa and the resulting boom in Samoan tourism.


The latest figures from the National Department of Statistics highlight the continuing growth in people travelling to Samoa to holiday, as well as those visiting family and friends.


Over the past 12 months (July 06-June 07), holiday arrivals to Samoa have increased 16.1%* from Australia and New Zealand, while the number of VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travellers has increased a whopping 28.7%* to Samoa from Australia and 18.7%* from New Zealand, the two countries where Polynesian Blue operates flights to and from Samoa. The increased visitor numbers translates to a 17.3%* increase to total tourism earnings for Samoa (source: Research and Statistics Department, Central Bank of Samoa).


Polynesian Blue's strategy from day one has been to offer the most affordable fares ever seen in Samoa while at the same time remaining a long term viable player in the market. This is achieved through the airline's low cost base and joint venture model combined with its clear commitment to offer true competition and value for money for travellers.


The Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa said, "The Polynesian Blue profit for the 12 months is a fantastic achievement for Samoa and her people. Not only has the airline achieved strong profitability but it has boosted tourism and affordability of air travel to and from Samoa."


He added, "My congratulations to the Board and Management for the 10.5 Million Tala profit, this is a new benchmark for airlines of our size. The Joint Venture proposal from Virgin Blue was assessed against set criteria by my Government, I am pleased to say each one of these have been met, many well ahead of time. For our part we will continue to encourage private sector investment in the Tourism Industry and actively promote Samoa through the Samoa Tourist Authority".


Virgin Blue Group of Airlines Chief Executive, Brett Godfrey, said, “The entire Polynesian Blue team can be very proud of the contribution their airline is making not only to shareholders but more importantly to the people of Samoa through economic stimulation."


He continued, "Polynesian Blue has far exceeded our initial expectations and the co-operation, like-minded goals and passion for excellence and innovation shared by the Government of Samoa, the Board of Directors and the staff of Polynesian Blue is an example of how a successful private-public sector partnership can bring tangible long term benefits to a community."


One of the other key achievements for Polynesian Blue this year was being named 'New Airline of the Year' at the 2006 Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) Awards for Excellence.


* Sources: Central Bank of Samoa & National Department of Statistics Samoa.

^ unaudited