Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to continue airport advisory services at the Tafuna/Pago Pago International Airport for one more year. Faleomavaega requested the extension in a letter of July 27, 2006 to Mr. William C. Withycombe, the Regional Director for the Western-Pacific Region. Faleomavaega copied his letter to the Governor and the Fono and urged them to write and make the same request of Mr. Withycombe.
In a letter dated August 9, 2006 and received in his office on August 21, 2006, Mr. Withycombe responded to the Congressman and informed Faleomavaega that the FAA has decided to extend and fund the advisory contract for one more year in order to give ASG additional time to determine their course of action for future services.
“I am pleased by this outcome, and I thank the Governor and the Fono for their support,” Faleomavaega said. “I also thank Mr. Withycombe for agreeing to our request and for informing my office of this outcome by way of his August 9th letter.” The full text of Mr. Withycombe’s letter is included below.
Dear Congressman Faleomavaega:
Thank you for your letter of July 27, 200 concerning airport advisory services at Tafuna/Pago Pago International Airport, Pago Pago, American Samoa.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began funding advisory service on October 1, 2005 after a decision that cost/benefit requirements could not be met in order to satisfy criteria for the replacement of the Pago Pago Airport Traffic Control Tower. With FAA assistance, local American Samoa citizens were hired and trained for jobs to provide this service.
Because the service contract expires on September 30, 2006, it was determined that the American Samoa Government (ASG) would develop a plan to extend and to fund the service contract if the service was to continue beyond the expiration date. However, we understand that this plan was not developed and that no ASG funds are available to continue the contract. As noted in your letter, ASG was reminded of the expiration date in a May 19, 2005 letter to Governor Togiola. This information had been also conveyed during a September 29, 2005 meeting where I met with the Governor, ASG Port Authority and other FAA representatives. I apologize that your office was not directly notified of the contract expiration date at that time.
In response to your request, along with a similar request from the Governor, the FAA has decided to extend and fund the advisory service contract for one more year. The contract will now expire on September 30, 2007. As you indicated in your letter, this extension will provide additional time for ASG to determine their course of action for future services. We are confident that we can assist ASG in determining a satisfactory level of services needed to support ongoing operations at Tafuna/Pago Pago International Airport.
If you or your staff desire further information, please contact my office.
“Again, I am pleased that in response to our request that the FAA has agreed to extend our advisory services and I look forward to working on a legislative solution in Congress that may complement ASG’s efforts as we move forward to protect the public,” Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.