Samoa Airways is copping flak in the first week of its operation but says "Rome wasn't built overnight".

Samoa Airways' general manager Seiuli Alvin Tuala said he was working on solving problems that sparked criticism following the first day of the airline's operation on Tuesday.

The one aircraft airline has started flying between Apia and Auckland after the Samoan Government, which owns the airline, refused permission for Virgin Australia to fly the route.

There were manual check-ins and boarding passes were hand printed.


"It's a teething problem and it's being dealt with. We should alleviate the setback as soon as possible and remove any inconvenience to our passengers and travelling public," said Seiuli.

"Rome was not built overnight."

Seiuli said the airline was formed in six months and he had expected "a lot of problems and setbacks".

But he said Samoa had an airline it should be proud of.

"We are back in the air and all we are asking for is for a little time," he said.

Seiuli urged the "patience and understanding of our patriots".
He said the manual ticketing setback should be resolved within the next week or so.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi said many had asked why the Government was again involved in an airline.

"Samoa can no longer rely on others to determine our destiny in terms of air travel, we can no longer sit back and let others dictate to us what's best for our people and this country,'' he said.


"Having our own airline ensures that we will be able to determine our destiny. ''