SOLOMON AIRLINES, GOVERNMENT SETTLE DIFFERENCES

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HONIARA, Solomon Islandsx (Solomon Times, Nov. 1) - The Minister of Finance, Gordon Darcy Lilo, is pleased with talks to settle [differences] between shareholders of the national airline company, Solomon Airlines.

A meeting aimed at clearing doubts and differences' existing between senior officials of the airline board and the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands (ICSI) is being held today following a previous meeting on Monday this week.

Mr Lilo said the reconciliation meeting is very crucial to take Solomon Airlines on the positive track after struggling to make sustainable profits in the past years.

ICSI - the investment arm of the government, owns 90 percent shares in Solomon Airlines while the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) owns 10 percent.

"The good thing about the meeting is to build good understanding between members of both boards and that will make a commitment to focus on the airline and not on individuals. If we continue to advance our own agendas the airline will continue to suffer," Mr Lilo said. "I'm optimistic that both authorities will develop good understanding between them."

The meeting yesterday involved screening of technical and financial reports presented by the board and management of the airline.

The Minister said the meeting is an exercise to look at what the new airline board and its financial controller have established so far in terms of the financial situation of the company and how the company could move forward from problems facing it.

A joint screening process by all participants also took place before putting that information into the right format to be forwarded to the government for proper decision making.

"That's how it should happen instead of listening to the bad stories about the airline."

The consultation will involve top officials from the Ministry of Finance, ICSI and the newly established airline board in an effort to rebuild confidence and establish the right direction that will take the company forward.

Mr Lilo said the government is pleased to see improvements in the company's financial performance following the appointment of its new board.

"This is the first time that government sees a turn around in the finances of the company following the new board establishment," Lilo said. "Shortly after that the airline has made a profit of about SB$600,000 [US$86,000]."

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