The Solomon Airlines confirmed yesterday, during a brief ceremony, that it has signed a strategic agreement to bring into its Brisbane operation, an Airbus 320-200 aircraft.

The new aircraft will commence operation on the Brisbane to Honiara route from its first flight on the 3rd August 2009.

The Solomon Airlines stated that the Airbus 320-200 is a modern aircraft, which will be catering to 12 Business class clients and 144 economy passengers with comfort unmatched on the route.

"Furthermore, now we shall have In-Flight Entertainment being movies and or music and HOT MEALS with NO MORE TO PAY," an excited spokesman indicated.

"The aircraft will give Solomon Airlines the added capacity required to meet the growing Tourism trends at somewhere around 18% increase annually; and also beds down certainty in the future of our International operation by securing a longer term arrangement that has capacity for growth," the Chairman of Solomon Airlines said.

"Strategic Airlines, through its subsidiary Strategic Aviation, currently provides services to the Australian Defence Force and operates regular charter flights for other government and corporate customers within Australasia, with its Australian based Airbus A330-300. It has previously operated charter flights to the Solomon Islands; recently through USP students returning home from University (USP) and thereafter; for Australian government operations to/from Australia and the Solomon Islands."

The Airbus aircraft is an EASA built joint consortium European manufactured aircraft that is fast becoming the aircraft of choice in the region with Jetstar and Tiger Australia using these extensively and Air Calin and Air New Zealand also having these aircraft extensively in their fleet.

Strategic Management stated that, "besides the virtues that the aircraft will now be able to carry much more cargo; subject to loads, it will be able to ensure tanker age of more fuel at a cheaper price in Brisbane, thus increasing revenue and decreasing operational costs....a win/win for Solomon Airlines."

The Chairman of Solomon Airlines said that the new Airbus aircraft would kick start the National Carriers approach to "wrestling business from competition and to cater for our own future by keeping in Solomon Islands, what belongs to Solomon Islands."

"The Airbus aircraft will be crewed by Strategic pilots and the cabin will be exclusive manned by Solomon Islands personnel employed currently by Solomon Airlines. This is something long time in coming and we welcome this new addition to ensuring that our reputation from the past is brought back to life." The Airline Chairman further explained.

"Naturally, we need all of Solomon Islands and the business/corporate market, and Government to get onboard this new development to ensure we move forward with one of our main assets in this country and not forgetting, we could do with a little help from our friends in RAMSI whilst they are assisting our country's future."

Solomon Airlines further indicated that they have now advised previous partners, Our Airline, that the current agreement will cease on the 2nd August although there is ongoing discussions regarding further capacity with the Our Airlines services via Honiara to Nauru weekly.