PM ASSURED AIRLINES OF GOVT’S SUPPORT
Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare MP has assured the Solomon Airlines of government’s support now that the Airline has proven to have a strong board and management that will carry it into the future.
Prime Minister was speaking as the guest of honor to welcome the country’s second airbus, A320 H4- SAL at the Honiara International Airport today.
In a packed VIP room of various stakeholders, PM Sogavare described the occasion as a “beginning of a new chapter for Solomon Airlines”.
The Prime Minister said it is a chapter of expanding our fleet to expand to other routes, serve more charters and our needs and that of our neighbors as well.
PM Sogavare revealed that an agreement has been reached with our fellow Melanesian brothers of Vanuatu for extensive use of our airbuses.
He added that Our National Carrier is considering a fifth direct flight from Australia and a plan to re- enter the Papua New Guinea market.
The Prime Minister further revealed that proposals are considered for partnerships with both Samoa and Tonga, and discussions are also on- going to tap the Republic of Kiribati market.
PM Sogavare further outlined the government’s vision for Solomon Airlines to undertake “direct, non- stop, long- haul flights” to destinations outside of the Pacific region like Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines and China.
In preparation for this, he said Solomon Airlines will need to upgrade its fleet to “appropriate, fuel- efficient, wide- body aircrafts” that can take these long- haul flights.
The Prime Minister added that we must expand both the international airport and international terminal to accommodate this new service.
PM Sogavare revealed that government is now in planning phase to extend the international airport to take wide- body aircrafts.
The Prime Minister further revealed that the government of Peoples’ Republic of China has indicated willingness to partner in this project to enable a “new era of non- stop long- haul flights”.
PM Sogavare made the assurance that the benefits of non- stop, long- haul flights include reducing travel time, lessen travel visa requirements, and “enhances travel conveniences for inbound and outbound passengers’’.
He added that this project will have a positive impact on the tourism industry and ignite more investments in the country.
The new airbus A320, H4- SAL is leased from Jetstar Australia, and National Provident Fund (NPF) provides the loan of USD3 million (approximately $26 million dollars) for Solomon Airlines to obtain the aircraft.
-OPMC PRESS SECRETARIAT