Aircraft Skids Off Runway In Solomon Islands; Improved Safety Measures Urged

Most airstrips on outer island receive no inspections; little maintenance

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 13, 2016) – There are calls for improved aviation safety in Solomon Islands after a plane skidded off a grass airstrip and into the mud in Isabel Province last week.

The Island Sun newspaper reports that no one was hurt during the incident at Suavanao Airstrip.

A statement from Solomon Airlines said the passengers were flown back to the capital on a different aircraft.

The airline said the plane involved was dug out and cleaned, and after a full inspection flown back to Honiara.

After further inspections it has been returned to normal duties.

The Island Sun reports that an aviation expert who wished to remain anonymous said most of the airstrips Solomon Airlines uses have never been inspected, let alone maintained to standards.

He said what happened at Suavanao airstrip is a warning for government to do something about the deteriorating conditions of the country's airstrips.

This is not the first time such an incident has happened on this particular airstrip. This video taken September 2013 by a group of tourists shows a Solomon Airlines Twin Otter De Havilland 6 losing traction shortly after landing on the same Suavanao Airstrip, where the incident on Friday occurred, on Santa Isabel Island after a night of heavy rain.

Radio New Zealand International
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