Virgin Australia is celebrating its first return flight to the Pacific island nation of Samoa today. As an added gesture the flight will be operated by a proud Samoan crew.
The relaunched Sydney-Apia services will commence today, and Brisbane flights are set to take off later this week on 23 March.
Both the Sydney and Brisbane services will be then operating up to two return flights a week on the airline’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
On today’s flight out of Sydney, an all-Samoan cabin crew and First Officer will warmly greet guests, who will also be treated to a traditional song during the flight and cultural welcome upon landing in Apia.
Virgin Australia Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Alistair Hartley said the return was welcome news for travellers across the Pacific.
“There is a strong Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) market in Samoa which is why we wanted to mark this occasion with a Samoan crew,” he said.
“It’s an exciting step in the rebuilding of our short-haul international network and comes ahead of our return to Vanuatu later this month.
“Samoa is well-known for its rich culture and friendly locals and has been a popular destination in the Virgin Australia network since 2005.”
Samoa Tourism Authority CEO, Pativaine Petaia-Tevita said: “The return of Virgin Australia flights from Australia to Samoa is wonderful news for the nation, boosting collective efforts to rebuild and recover Samoa’s visitor economy.
“With a diverse flight schedule it means more and more travellers will be able to make their way to us to experience Fa`a-Samoa, our beautiful culture and way of life.”
Domestic and short-haul international connectivity
Guests travelling on Samoa services will be able to access strong connectivity to the rest of the Virgin Australia domestic and short-haul international network through Brisbane and Sydney.
Flights from both Brisbane and Sydney will initially depart in the evening, and from 28 March the Sydney flight will move to a daytime departure.
Virgin Australia’s International short-haul network continues to expand following the relaunch of the business in November 2020.
Shorthaul services now include Bali, Queenstown, Nadi, Port Vila and Apia, as well as Tokyo (Haneda) which is due to commence later this year in June 2023.
New short haul international services will see Virgin Australia grow its international capacity by 50 per cent by mid-2024.
Samoa is a group of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. It is situated about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.
The country is made up of two main islands, Upolu and Savai’i, as well as several smaller islands. The capital city of Samoa is Apia, which is located on the island of Upolu.
The island of Upolu is particularly popular with tourists, as it is home to some of the country’s most stunning beaches, as well as the capital city of Apia.
Traditionally, there have been several airlines operating flights between Australia and Samoa, including Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Samoa Airways.
These flights typically depart from major Australian cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and fly into Samoa’s capital city of Apia.