Solomon Airlines ‘Indefinitely’ Shut Down By Airline CEO

Domestic, international flights suspended; operational issues cited

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 7, 2016) – The Solomon Islands ministry of aviation says it is hoping it can come to an agreement with Solomon Airlines after a total shutdown of its operations grounded all international and domestic flights.

In ordering the indefinite shutdown, the airline's chief executive Ron Sum Sum said millions of dollars in unpaid government arrears had seriously compromised airline operations.

The permanent secretary of the ministry of aviation, Moses Virivolomo, said attempts were being made to reach a resolution with the airlines today with the aim to have services resume tomorrow.

Mr Virivolomo said he wanted to stress to the regional and international community that the shutdown has nothing to do with the safety of Honiara's international airport.

"It is an operational issue this is nothing to do with the integrity of the international airport in Honiara. It has nothing to do with the security, nothing to do with the airport management or air traffic or the facilities at the airport. It is basically operational issues with the airline itself."

It is understood that the Solomon Airline CEO core concern is the strain being put on domestic pilots having to make longer and more frequent flights because of the continued absence of its Dash 8 aircraft.

The airline's largest and fastest domestic aircraft was sent to Australia in March for scheduled maintenance and repairs but Solomon Airlines has since not been able to pay the bill.

Radio New Zealand International
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