AVIATION MINISTER ACCUSED FIJI OF INTERFERING WITH SOLAIR

Solomon Airlines aircraft. Photo credit: SIBC.

Solomon Airlines aircraft. Photo credit: SIBC.

The Minister for Aviation has accused Fiji of ‘dictating’ and ‘interfering’ with Solomon Airlines operations into Fiji.

The impasse between the Airlines of the two countries began in mid-July this year, and the stand-off is now into its seventh week.

Walter Folotalu told Parliament yesterday, now that Solomon Airlines has its own international aircraft, Fiji is dictating how Solomon Airlines should operate.

“Fiji essentially interferes with commercial arrangements between Solomon Airlines, Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu.¬†Fiji has even prevented Solomon Airlines from carrying code share – buying seats in an aircraft – passengers between Nadi and Port Vila and has enforced through the ASP that Solomon Airlines can only code share with Fiji Airways on any flights into or out of Fiji by Solomon Airlines.”

Meanwhile, the Ministries of Aviation and Home Affairs has asked Fiji to lift its current ban on the Solomon Islands-PNG code-sharing, on grounds that this arrangement was legally obtained.

The Aviation Minister told Parliament yesterday, this was one of the submissions made to Fiji through Solomon Islands representatives in Fiji.

“We legally obtained this from the Fiji Government, so lifting of the ban on the current code share on Air Niugini flights will allow this service to remain operative between Honiara and Nadi on Friday and Saturday, and Nadi-Honiara on Saturday and Monday. This is what my Ministry with the Ministry of Home Affairs got in touch over, which is one of the submissions that we put forward to the Fiji Government through our representative there.”

The latest submission to Fiji was delivered two weeks ago.

SIBC News understands negotiations with Fiji is being led by the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, Patterson Oti.

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