Airline seeks to operate in Samoa
By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer
Greg Kahlstorf doesn't think he can make much money doing it, but he's started the process anyway to provide interisland air service in Samoa and American Samoa.
Kahlstorf's Maui-based Pacific Wings last week asked the U.S. Department of Transportation for an exemption to operate in Samoa and American Samoa to provide a low-cost alternative to Polynesian Air, which is owned by the Samoan government.
Kahlstorf made the application at the urging of Gus Hannemann, a consultant to the American Samoa senate, who is also the older brother of Honolulu mayoral candidate Mufi Hannemann.
"We need them," Gus Hannemann said yesterday.
He hopes to see Pacific Wings flying in Samoa and American Samoa within six to nine months.
Travel between the islands has slowed considerably since Samoa Air went out of business last year and was replaced by Polynesian Air, Hannemann said.
The relatively higher cost of air travel has cut down attendance at weddings and funerals, slowed interisland commerce and affected government travel, Hannemann said.
If he gets the necessary approvals, Kahlstorf would bring in perhaps a half-dozen Cessna Caravan 208B turbo prop planes reconfigured for nine passengers.
"They have a very real air transportation crisis," Kahlstorf said. "It's more of a public-service kind of thing, where we could cover the bills and possibly make a small profit."
Reach Dan Nakaso at email@example.com or at 525-8085.