SUVA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Being concerned about the safety of the incoming Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, Samoa has deferred commissioning of its national airline's new such aircraft.
According to the Samoa Observer on Wednesday, the Samoan government's decision came after the weekend crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft which resulted in the deaths of all 157 people aboard.
Samoa's Minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Selafi Purcell said on Wednesday that the government will not take the risk and has deferred the commissioning of the new plane until it gets the green light from regional aviation regulators.
"The crash of the two brand new 737 MAX 8 within the span of five months has shaken the world of aviation. And unless we have received the clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, the New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority and Australia's Civil Aviation Safety we will not bring that aircraft to Samoa," he said.
The minister said that the similarities in the aircraft model with Samoa Airways' new Boeing MAX 9 compelled them to take precaution.
"The crashes involve the 737 MAX 8 and because ours is a MAX 9, we know there are equipment similarities between the two, so in the meantime we have to take all precautions as the issues that may have affected the MAX 9 around the world. Hence the delay and unless the investigations are done and we get clearance nothing will happen," he said.
"The safety of our customers and crew is supreme and the MoU means nothing to us when we are dealing with the safety of our people. We will deal with them accordingly and when the time comes for that. If they can't understand that, well too bad for them, we are not going to bring that plane to Samoa. This is a sad reality of aviation and this has shaken the world of aviation."
The Samoa Airways-leased Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft is expected in the island nation later in March with the airline issuing a statement recently, which said the leased aircraft would replace the Boeing 737-800 and makes the airline the first in the Pacific to operate a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.
In Fiji, Fiji Airways together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji have decided to temporarily ground its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.