By Nahrain John @karryontravel14 Nov 2017It’s the start of a new era of air travel for Samoa, one of increased competition and extra consumer choice, as the Polynesian island’s national airline launches commercial services. The island nation’s Samoa Airways took off this morning when the airline flew from Apia to Auckland on a freshly painted Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline replaces the Samoa Government’s recently terminated joint venture with Virgin Australia called ‘Virgin Samoa’ and commences with two direct Oceania routes (Apia-Auckland and Apia-Sydney) as well as four domestic services. Speaking at an official take-off gathering in Apia, Samoa’s Prime Minister urged Samoans around the country to support the country’s independently run national airline, Radio New Zealand reported. Those who choose to fly on the airline’s aircraft, leased from the Icelandair Group, will be able to choose from five fares: FiaFia Saver, FiaFia Smart, FiaFia Plus, FiaFia Flexi and FiaFia Premium Business Class. Touchdown! Welcome to @FlySamoaAirways flight OL731, landed at 10.45 from Apia! pic.twitter.com/bVwtIh6GFP — Auckland Airport (@AKL_Airport) November 13, 2017 Prices for flights from Sydney start from around $342 one-way and includes access to wireless inflight entertainment (so don’t forget that iPad or laptop), food and checked baggage. Meanwhile, Virgin Australia launched its own independent direct flights between Sydney and Samoa this week and is hoping to gain Samoan Government approval to launch flights from the island to New Zealand. READ: Samoa Airways is launching very soon READ: Virgin Australia’s Samoa flights will take off from Australia Would you be keen to fly with Samoa Airways? Other stories you may like YASSS QUEEN!: How Flight Centre’s WomenWise program gives women a boost PERTH to GOLD COAST: Virgin Australia expands domestic network over Christmas DON’T BE LATE: Only 3 days left to WIN a spot on the Walt Disney World Christmas Famil!