Samoa's minister for public enterprises, Leatinu'u Wayne So'oialo, has told local radio that it is time to update the fleet at Samoa Airways (OL, Apia Faleolo). In particular, there is an "urgent need" to replace the oldest of three DHC-6-300s, he said in the interview, as reported by the Samoa Observer.

According to ch-aviation fleets data, the oldest of the three Twin Otters, 5W-STF (msn 402), is 50.15 years of age followed by 5W-FAY (msn 690) at 43.88 years, and 5W-FAW (msn 827) at 38.6 years. All three are owned by the airline, which in turn is owned by the Samoan government.

"If you look at these planes, you see that the outside and the engine are good but the interior of the planes and the chairs are not up to standard," the minister said. "That really is a priority for us, to procure another plane to replace the aging ones we currently have."

So'oialo said the aircraft's maintenance costs have increased as they have aged and they now require additional out-of-service time. One or more new aircraft will help offset these costs while also improving overall operational efficiencies, he added. However, he did not provide any timelines for acquiring them or possibilities for funding.

The interview is not the first time the minister has canvassed a fleet replacement programme. In August 2023, he said he would support doing this and asked for a plan from the airline's management.