Solomon Airlines aircraft at the Honiara International Airport. Photo credit: SIBC.

Solomon Airlines aircraft at the Honiara International Airport. Photo credit: SIBC.

An official delegation from the Solomon Islands Government will be leaving for Fiji later this month in efforts to initiate a review of the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of air services that will soon expire.

A government statement said under the MOU, a review should be conducted one month prior to the expiry date, which is 25th February this year.

It said the government hopes that through the review, a new air service arrangement could be finalised, which will ensure an equitable and beneficial agreement for the airlines of both countries.

The resumption of air services between Solomon Islands and Fiji is a priority of the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government who sees it imperative that air services between the countries be allowed to continue as both Solomon Airlines and the travelling public are losing out due to the impasse.

This has resulted in the lifting of the suspension of air services between Solomon Islands and Fiji as agreed upon in Suva last week.

The government maintains it is in the best interest of every Solomon Islanders that the national carrier, Solomon Airlines resume its flights to Fiji, particularly with chartering of flights for students studying at the various tertiary institutions in Fiji.

Meanwhile, the statement said pertinent issues may exist regarding fifth and sixth freedom right arrangements but the government is optimistic they will be included in the MOU review during the next air service meeting.

It adds the ruling Coalition will continue to pursue the review with Fiji and issues pertaining to fairness and equality of the air services between the two countries are matters to be addressed in the review.

Through the review, issues such as the fairness on fifth freedom rights could be amicably resolved during the next air services meeting and these issues will be dealt with when a new MOU is signed.

The statement said the government will engage the Solomon Airlines management and the Civil Aviation Authority on matters of the review prior to the next air services meeting this month.

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