Solomon Airlines confirmed today that it is actively seeking to commence operating the Honiara to Port Moresby route in July subject to Government approvals and its application to PNG CAA for a Foreign Air Operators Certificate (FAOC).A Solomon Airlines spokesperson indicated that the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon. Dr. Derek Sikua, during the official opening of the new Chancellery of the Solomon Islands High Commission on Friday was in discussions with his counterpart, the Right Honourable Grand Chief, Sir Michael Somare regarding these developments.
The spokesperson further iterated that "the new service will be operated by a leased Airlines PNG (APNG) Dash8 aircraft with Solomon Airlines Cabin crew and pilots trained in PNG and operating under APNG standards and certification approvals."
"It is imperative that Solomon Airlines operates this route as the agreement with Air Niugini to purchase 10 seats on each flight in each direction has not eventuated although agreed to last year," the spokesperson said.
The Governments of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are mandating the two National Carriers to work more closely together as part of the push to consolidate the affairs of the MSG and Solomon Airlines indicated that the resumption of Airline services from Solomon Islands to PNG "is part of this mandate and ensures that better and fuller corporation and services will hopefully expand the market base and grow the market to the benefit of both airlines."
"Solomon Airlines needs to ensure that the current leased Dash8 from Airlines PNG gets to Port Moresby weekly for some TLC in the hangar and with this service, it will achieve that aim thus potentially reducing engineering costs in Solomon Islands yet ensuring the aircraft is returned for another week in good operating order," the spokesman said.
"The Dash8 in service has a fully integrated IFE (In-flight Entertainment system) and our clients will be able to relax and enjoy movies supplied which will potentially reduce the perception that it is a longer flight. In addition, this service will be a full service flight with NO MORE TO PAY," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that the mid week services will connect nicely to Japan and Manila and the airline is in discussions with Air Niugini on how best to promote this new connection.