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 profits. The company has recorded a pre-tax profit of NZ$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 NZ$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 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 according to the Research and Statistics Department of the Central Bank of Samoa.
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.”