Tuesday, 13 January 2009 3:01 PM

Security Concerns for Dash8

Solomon Airlines says there is security concern for Dash8 service to Santa Cruz.

This follows what is reported to have been "a total lack of security and discipline when the Dash8 aircraft arrived at Santa Cruz-Lata yesterday (Monday)".

The airlines in a statement said members of the public, both onlookers and travellers, surrounded the aircraft and due to waitlisted passengers being placed onboard from Kirakira, this left some passengers stranded in Santa Cruz.

Reports by the Dash8 crew said matters could have easily gotten out of hand and turned ugly.

Solomon Airlines operates to CAA standards and enshrined in ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) Annex 14, of which CAA/Solomon Islands is a signatory, which clearly states the requirements of security and control of the public and passengers alike at such airports.

Solomon Airlines have stated in previous releases that more attention is required to ensure security issues at all Domestic airports are dealt with in an appropriate manner by CAA and the Government if we are to proceed with better equipment and safer standards internally.

The statement reported that members of the public and some passengers were heard abusing the crew of the Dash8 aircraft when all they were doing was their mandated task of flying the aircraft on Solomon Airlines' behalf.

The CEO of Solomon Airlines indicated that what happened at Santa Cruz was not acceptable and will not be tolerated regardless of any shortcomings.

"After all, the New Zealand crew are here to do a job on our behalf," he advised.

"Matters of operating issues or bookings are best taken up directly with the airline and not 'hurl abuse' at a foreign crew invited here to assist in this high season demand".

The CEO added that it would have been well within the airlines' rights to cancel further flights to Lata and let the Provincial Government, Police and CAA get together to guarantee the aircraft and crew safety under these circumstances but instead, "... we are putting on a further Dash8 flight on Thursday to ensure we assist in clearing the backlog from Lata".

Solomon Airlines is calling on members of the public and travelling clients to refrain from any such abuse or counter productive actions against the airline, aircraft and crew in future.

It said failing such security and decent behaviour means the airline will review operations to those airports that do not have better controls in place.

The statement said on approach into Kirakira yesterday, the pilot of the aircraft had to take evasive action with a Pig on the runway, further evidence regarding general safety and security at airports, which is a serious breach under Annex 14 of ICAO rules & regulations.

The respective authorities are requested to ensure that animals, public thoroughfare and other foreign objects to an aircraft's normal operation at such airports need to be secured when an aircraft is in the area to ensure safety is the number one priority.

Source: Solomon Airlines (Press release)

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