Monday, 11 May 2009 9:25 AM

We Should Not Politicize Solomon Airlines: Wale

A former board chairman to Solomon Airlines, now Minister for Education Mathew Wale says the national airline needs less politicization of its board appointments and a more commercial approach by the board and management.

Mr Wale says this is to enable the airline management to follow one set of direction for an expanded period of time, in order to make "consistent assumptions on the direction it takes."

He says politics always have an impact on the strategic plan of any company, including Solomon Airlines.

Mr Wale applauds the national carriers' new partnership agreement with Strategic Airlines of Australia, saying Solomon Airlines needs to be more commercial.

Mr Wale says the partnership which enables Solomon Airlines to use a 320-200 Airbus by August this year allows the local airline to offer the most efficient rates for the Honiara - Brisbane route.

He says the partnership will force the airline to be more commercial.

Mr Wale says he hopes that one day government will be willing to sell some shares in Solomon Airlines to a partner like Strategic Airlines to ensure that the airline not only survives, but makes money.

He says the airline has the potential to make a profit of up to 20-million dollars a year, which is very hard to achieve without re-capitalization and re-structuring.

Mr Wale says one option is to sell shares to a company that is willing to bring in new capital and helps to manage the airline so that it becomes more profitable.

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