Wednesday, 17 October 2007 8:21 AM

Sacking of Airline Board Unnecessary: Huni'ehu

Opposition spokesman on finance and treasury, Edward Huniehu, says government backbencher and east Honiara MP, Charles Dausabea's call to sack the Solomon Airline board is unnecessary.

Mr. Huniehu says the current board, chaired by the governor of the Central Bank, Rick Hou, has the caliber and should be allowed to continue with the crucial task of revamping the cash-strapped State-owned airline company.

He says what the Minister of Finance and Treasury, Gordon Darcy Lilo, should be concerned about is the SBD$1.3 million annual salary paid to the airline's financial controller, Baoro Koraua, which is rather exorbitant.

Mr. Huniehu maintains that the salary should be reviewed, but he does not agree with Mr. Dausabea's call for him and the board to be sacked by Friday October 19.

He says another important concern the airlines board should bear in mind is getting the Australian Aviation Authorities to allow Solomon Airlines to airlift passengers from Brisbane to Santo in Vanuatu and then to Honiara and vice versa. He says as the majority of Solomon Islands' visitors are Australians so the air route should be profitable.

Mr. Huniehu says the government needs to vigorously negotiate with the Australian Aviation Authorities an existing Memorandum of Understanding they had signed under the Australian Air Services Agreement to allow Solomon Airlines to carry passengers traveling on the route.

He reiterated what he earlier said that unless the diplomatic impasse between Solomon Islands and Australian Governments is resolved, it would continue to impact on the country's visitor industry.