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Samoa Airways to lease a Boeing 737-800 instead of 737 MAX 9

Apia, Samoa - Samoa Airways is planning to lease a Boeing 737-800 from Malindo Air on a six-month contract.

The state-run carrier is in touch with the Malaysian low-cost operator Malindo Air to lease one of the 20 Boeing 737-800s of the airline registered 9M-LNW (MSN 39875). Samoa Airways was initially planning to lease a Boeing 737 MAX 9 from the American lessor Air Lease Corporation but it had to drop it for now due to global flight ban imposed for the type after Ethiopian Flight 302 crash on March 10.

Lautafi Selafi Purcell, Samoan Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour and Public Enterprise confirmed during an interview with local media that the government was also evaluating an option for the lease of a Boeing 737-800 from ALC (Air Lease Corporation) for the national carrier of the country.

“Looking at the situation it’s a waiting game. We are looking at those options on continuing the lease with Malindo and the other is a new Boeing 737-800 aircraft," Selafi said."

"It’s a newer one from the company that we were going to hire the MAX 9 from, but an 800 model. Samoa Airways is working on analysis, costs, and all those things in relation to those options," he also added.

According to the Minister, there is no firm decision yet to be taken to drop the Boeing 737 MAX 9 contract. The final decision will be made after the review of the aircraft by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the New Zealand and Australia civil aviation authorities.

The Samoa Airways' current fleet consists of one Boeing 737-800 and three DHC-6-300 Twin Otter used for domestic flights in Samoan archipelago.