Solomon Airlines has welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirming the full reopening of Solomon Islands' international borders, commencing on 1 July 2022.
The airline said the opening of borders and easing of travel restrictions including the ending of domestic travel restrictions over the weekend, are positive steps that will allow Solomon Airlines to rebuild its domestic schedule and plan for further international operations.
“It will enable us to reconfigure our schedule to serve local demand and prepare for more international visitors,” said Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gebers.
“To start we have adjusted our domestic schedule effective from 6 June to prepare for inbound connections on Friday from our Brisbane to Honiara service and to ensure the ability to add capacity to domestic routes such as Munda, Gizo, Auki, and Santa Cruz, where we are already seeing increasing booking demand.
“While the ongoing mandatory quarantine period for international arrivals remains a deterrent to inbound tourism, we understand that these restrictions will be progressively relaxed and believe we will still see enough early international travellers coming to Solomon Islands to sustain our twice-weekly Brisbane-Honiara services until all restrictions are removed in the next few months,” he said.
“We will also look to re-establish our weekly Tuesday flight between Honiara and Nadi,” Mr. Gebers said.
“Regular commercial travel to Vanuatu and Kiribati is not yet possible due to the border restrictions of those countries, however, we look forward to resuming flights between Honiara, Port Vila, and Tarawa in due course.
“This announcement is certainly a positive development as the gradual recovery of Solomon Islands’ tourism industry and the contribution that growth in international tourism and development can make to the economy is entirely dependent upon the reopening of our borders,” he said.
“If ultimately we want a tourism industry again, we must be determined as a nation to reach a 90% vaccination rate, do away with quarantine requirements and welcome back vaccinated tourists freely,” he added.
Solomon Airlines will continue to maintain COVID-19 protocols onboard all international flights including the requirement for face masks to be worn at all times and support the testing requirements outlined by the Solomon Islands Government for all international arrivals.
Source: Press Release