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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 21) - Solomon Airlines has offered a newly recruited ni Vanuatu pilot a net salary totaling SB$1.5 million [US$213,750] per annum, it was revealed.

The pilot, Captain Sumsum, is the new Solomon Airlines’ Chief Pilot International/Training & Check Captain.

According to information sourced by the Solomon Star, the total net per annum includes the net salary and other allowances.

Such allowances are the chief pilot responsibilities (20 percent of the base salary), training and check responsibilities (10 percent of the base salary) and AOC preparation and up keeping (5 percent of the base salary).

In addition, the pilot has other benefits.

The benefits include superannuation, family and personal insurance cover - life and medical cover, loss of license, accommodation in Brisbane, Australia, telephone and other utilities and education of five children.

Captain Sumsum is on a three-year contract effective January 30, 2006 and is renewable.

The offer, which a Vanuatu media described as lucrative financial package, was offered in light of the slashing of the local pilots’ salary by 55 percent last year.

The slash has forced local pilots to leave the country and assume employment overseas.

"The lucrative package is a blow to the local pilots that had been discriminated against and have their salary package reduced.

‘But our local pilots have operated effectively and efficiently to serve the population," commented a government insider.

Captain Sumsum is Vanuatu’s first qualified and high-ranking pilot.

He is the Director of Operations with Air Vanuatu Limited before resigning from the post.

Vanuatu Daily Post reported last week that Captain Sumsum has resigned from his position also last week to take up a new position with the national flag carrier.

The newspaper reported that Air Vanuatu Chief Executive Officer Captain Terry Kerr has confirmed Captain Sumsum’s resignation and they are negotiating his departure date.

Solomon Star could not reach the Chairman of the Solomon Airline Board or the Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer for comments late yesterday afternoon.

February 22, 2006

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