Samoa Airways (OL, Apia Fagali'i) is looking at dry-leasing a B737 NextGen once an existing six-month ACMI contract with Malindo Air (OD, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) expires in October. The state-owned airline was forced to turn to the Malaysian carrier and its B737-800 9M-LNW (msn 39875) after the Samoan government suspended plans to dry-lease a B737-9 from Air Lease Corporation given the global grounding of the type.

Samoan Minister of Commerce Industry and Labour and Public Enterprise, Lautafi Selafi Purcell, told the Samoa Observer in an interview this week that with the October deadline looming, the government was now looking at leasing a B737-800 from ALC. However, no decision has yet been taken.

“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," he 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."

Purcell underscored that no firm decision to abandon the B737 MAX 9 contract has yet been taken. That, he said, would depend on the outcome of a review of the type by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and on the New Zealand and Australia civil aviation authorities giving their respective consents to its use.

Aside from the Malindo Air B737-800, the rest of Samoa Airways' fleet consists of three DHC-6-300s used for inter Samoan archipelago flights.