Fagali International Airport (FGI) is situated a few miles southwest of the town center of Apia, the capital and largest city in Samoa. This small airport has a fascinating history in that it started out as a grass airstrip until it was paved and officially opened in July 2002. However its function was short lived and after some controversy about noise and safety, it was closed in January 2005.
Four years later, Polynesian Airlines reopened it and began regular, internal flights to the island’s five other airports and also to Pago Pago in American Samoa, thus giving Fagali Airport international status.
The island of Samoa is attracting more tourists every year. With a tropical rainforest climate and many historical sites, visitors only have to travel a few miles from Fagali Airport to see 19th Century Colonial churches in downtown Apia located next to 20th Century multi-story buildings.
The Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last four years of his life on Samoa and is buried on Mt. Vaea overlooking Vailima where he lived. I suspect the island has changed in many ways since the late 19th Century, especially with all the new technology available and Fagali Airport, which transports locals around Samoa and visitors to and from American Samoa.
This small airport plays a large part in the lives of Samoans and has helped bring their island into the 21st Century.