It is not a rumour though; it is a misreporting of the press release which they give as the source of their information
I understand your point, but actually, several articles do not cite a press release as the source of their information - they just say that "The Minister" ... "has confirmed that."
Fiji is now coming out of a remarkably unstable time. A coup in 2000, another coup in 2006 and a constitutional crisis in 2009 with elections delayed until 2014. By comparison, Samoa's government has been a model of stability
I am not talking about 2000, or 2006, or 2009 though - I am talking about recent
times, in which FJ has launched services to HKG, SFO and SIN, and upgraded its fleet.
Fiji's economy has largely out-grown Samoa's in this period (by growing ~2% more than Samoa's economy), and is forecast to continue to do so in the coming years:
- 2014: 5.6% (Fiji); 1.2% (Samoa)
- 2015: 3.6% (Fiji); 1.6% (Samoa)
- 2016: 2.0% (Fiji); 6.6% (Samoa)
- 2017: 3.5% (Fiji); 2.0% (Samoa)
- 2018: 4.0% (Fiji); 1.5% (Samoa)
See: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files ... lights.pdf
As Moody's notes, this growth is a result of Fiji taking a number of measures which, together, enhance Fiji's institutional framework and strengthen policy effectiveness.
In an aviation context, this includes:
- Promptly resolving air services disputes (like, with the Solomon Islands in 2015)
- Part-funding aviation initiatives (like, the Fijian Aviation Academy in 2016)
- Concluding new air services agreements (like, with India in 2017)
- Expanding existing air services agreements (like, with Australia in 2017)
- Supporting aviation events (like, Fiji hosting the DGCA Conference in 2018)
Fiji also passed the Civil Aviation (Montreal Convention, 1999) Act in 2016, and is also drafting new regulations to further increase Fiji’s compliance with ICAO standards.
All of these measures make for a far more conducive environment for aviation development, than that in Samoa, where NZ, VA and others are receiving constant criticism.
Even though I seriously doubt the route would ever have lost $100 million, his point is valid and I have some sympathy with his position - or at least his feelings
The Samoan Prime Minister said, as you quoted, "if there was a $100 million loss then we'd have to fork out that money
." Yes - NZ is a for-profit, commercial entity - it is not in the business of giving preferential treatment to Samoa, for the sake of it.
The Prime Minister also said that NZ was "acting purely for its own self interest and unwilling to commit to developing the route
." Yes - again, NZ is a for-profit, commercial entity, and it did
try to develop the LAX service, by operating it for many years.
As to your second point, the Samoans believe there was collusion between NZ and Virgin to keep prices high by keeping seats low. The increase in seats by NZ after Samoa acted against Virgin might seem to confirm this, at least in their minds
That is a bold accusation to make, particularly when NZ was just a minority shareholder, and the NZ - VA alliance explicitly excluded services to Samoa.
Even if collusion is what the Samoans thought
, they would have been wise to have kept their rumblings to themselves - they had no hard evidence whatsoever.
Finally, as to your point about the timing of NZ's increased capacity to APW potentially proving collusion between NZ and VA, I struggle to see the logic in this. After Samoa "acted against" the Virgin Group, if there was in fact collusion, NZ (and VA) would have reduced capacity on AKL - APW, to mitigate the impact of additional capacity from Samoa Airways being brought into the market. The additional NZ capacity does have clear support from fundamentals, such as New Zealand visitor arrivals to Samoa increasing ~10% in 2016.