With the approval of the Solomon Islands Government and the Government of the Philippines, Solomon Airlines is planning to operate three repatriation flights from Manila to Honiara on 27 September and 29 September, with the third flight on 27 October in the process of being confirmed.

The Government’s COVID-19 oversight committee has approved the flights to repatriate Solomon Islands students who have been studying in the Philippines and Indonesia, and also allow citizens of Indonesia and the Philippines residing in the Solomon Islands to return to their home country.

All passengers regardless of their nationality or status will and must undergo strict testing and quarantine protocols prior to, during and after arrival. All incoming passengers must be individually approved, and each traveler will have taken three COVID-19 tests in the 21 days before the flight. They will only be allowed to board the plane if all three tests are negative for COVID-19.

The first test for Solomon Islands students studying in the Philippines has returned, with six testing positive for COVID-19. The Philippines health authority is conducting contact tracing and has advised those that may have come into contact with these six individuals to self-isolate and to report to authorities if they experience symptoms.

The Philippines Red Cross Society is conducting all the testing for Solomon Islands students studying in the Philippines, ensuring that strict protocols imposed by the government for intending travelers are being met.

The Oversight Committee says that on arrival all travelers will undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine period and they will have a further three tests which must all be negative before they can be released. This is more than the standard 14-day quarantine period, given that Philippines is in the high-risk category.

Solomon Airlines Airbus A320 will first operate a cargo only flight on 25 September from Brisbane to Honiara. The repatriation flights are then scheduled as follows:

Flight IE618 on 26 September Honiara via Biak to Manila Flight IE619 on 27 September Manila via Biak to Honiara Flight IE620 on 28 September Honiara via Biak to Manila Flight IE621 on 29 September Manila via Biak to Honiara

The aircraft will stop briefly in Biak, Indonesia in both directions to refuel and allow Biak bound passengers only to disembark. As the flights are expected to be full departing Manila, no passengers will be permitted to board the aircraft and all crew and other passengers will remain onboard.

Flight IE601 on 30 September will then operate Honiara - Brisbane departing Honiara 8.00 am arriving Brisbane 10.15am.

Limited seats are available to book for those permitted to enter or transit Australia. Bookings can be made through our Sales Office in Point Cruz via phone (677) 20152 or email sales@flysolomons.com.sb.

Following operation of the flights, Solomon Airlines Airbus A320 international aircraft will be cleaned and sanitised. All Solomon Airlines repatriation flights comply with the COVID-19 regulations and requirements of the relevant countries. Solomon Airlines crew will also wear facemasks and gloves for duration of service, and catering is minimal to reduce contact between passengers and crew.

Source: With Solomon Airlines