Hawaiian Air cited for biased service
American Samoa's governor wants it out of the territory
Citing predatory acts against Samoans, the governor of American Samoa issued an edict ordering Hawaiian Airlines to get out of the U.S. territory.
Gov. Togiola T.A. Tulafono gave Hawaiian Airlines 90 more days to operate in the territory while the American Samoa government seeks another carrier.
In an executive order issued Wednesday, Tulafono declared that Hawaiian used its monopoly position to force American Samoans to pay twice the fare of other passengers traveling identical distances within the United States.
The three-page order also accuses Hawaiian Airlines personnel of "discourteous and disrespectful" treatment of American Samoans during flights.
Hawaiian Airlines has no plans to discontinue its flights to Pago Pago, according to spokesman Keoni Wagner.
"We are confident that the order has no legal power and we're disappointed that Tulafono has taken this action," Wagner said. "Hawaiian has responded in good faith to all of the governor's concerns and we've offered to discuss them face to face, but he has so far refused to meet with us."
Hawaiian Airlines offers three round-trip flights from Honolulu to Pago Pago during the summer, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
It is also the principal carrier of commercial mail to Pago Pago.
Prices for the Honolulu-to-Pago Pago round-trip flights currently range from about $750 to $1,000.
In the past, Tulafono requested that those rates be reduced to about $500, which is comparable to flights from Hawaii to California.
Honolulu and American Samoa are about 2,200 miles apart.
Not all of American Samoa's leaders agree with the governor. Senate President Lolo Moliga expressed disappointment at the governor's executive order, according to the Samoa News, saying he believed the two parties could sit down and settle their differences.
Tulafono could not be reached for additional comment.
In his order, he said the American Samoan government never received a response from Hawaiian regarding the "abusive monopoly." To the contrary, the carrier showed "contempt" by raising reservation fees $100 higher than other comparable U.S. routes, Tulafono said.
All these issues, according to Tulafono, were sent by correspondence to Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Mark Dunkerley in the last six months.
Tulafono says upon establishing a replacement carrier, he'll issue a second executive order banning Hawaiian Airlines from entering American Samoa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.