OPPOSITION EXPRESSED CONCERN OVER CORE ISSUE OF AIRLINE SAGA
The Parliamentary Opposition has said whilst the flight impasse has been lifted, it is concerned that the core issue of the dispute between Solomon Islands and Fiji has not been resolved.
Opposition Leader Jeremiah Manele said whilst he welcomed the resumption of the airline services to and from Honiara-Nadi, the recent agreement signed between the Solomon Islands and Fiji Government has not achieved fairness and equality which was the very core of the problem in the first place.
Mr Manele said the agreement is not in the best interest of our airline as Solomon Airlines stands to lose millions of dollars in revenue.
He said this is because of the fact that Solomon Airlines does not have a fifth or sixth freedom rights on a Honiara-Port Vila-Nadi; rights over which Fiji Airways has an advantage.
He said the Solomon Islands Government and Solomon Airline are at the losing end.
Meanwhile, the Opposition leader said Fiji Airways has the advantage to operate into Honiara via Port Vila, picking up and dropping off passengers via a complete route; a right Solomon Airlines does not have.
Mr Manele urged the Government to take on board the plea by the Solomon Airlines for fairness and equality between both airlines.
It is understood a meeting by the Solomon Islands and Fiji Governments to review the air services is scheduled to be held on the 25th next month.
The MP for Kia Hograno Havulei said this is an opportunity for Solomon Islands to push for fairness and equality for our airline.
He said as a sovereign nation, it is important Solomon Islands should be given the air service rights that would benefit our airline, our country and our economy.