18 July 2011


Solomon Airlines will be presenting the country with a timely gift as it prepares to fly in its new airbus A320 on July 7, Independence Day. Solomon Airlines operational & commercial services general manager Gus Kraus said plans to fly in the new airbus into the country in July was on track. Mr Kraus was speaking to business houses at a cocktail function held at the Belama Lounge, Honiara International Airport, Thursday this week. He said the initial plan was to bring the plane into the country on the 1st of July, but he said it was wise that the plane arrive in the country on the day the country prepares to celebrate its independence anniversary. “It is prudent that our plan also encompasses our independence anniversary,” he said. There have been questions raised as to how Solomon Airlines could afford to pay for its own airbus. Mr Kraus cleared the air stating that after financial reviews, their studies show that the four flights a week into Honiara with what they currently pay was indeed adequate to make up for their own planes coming onboard. This also included a dash 8 that would also be purchased later this year. It is understood the management had already identified a dash 8 in Wellington, New Zealand. “Evaluation had been done to purchase the country’s own dash 8 and airbus because all that had been done was promoting Strategic and Airlines PNG with nothing from the national flag carrier except our cabin crew,” Mr Kraus said. He said the company purchased the new airbus with their own ability, finances and funds without any single cent from the National Government. “The Government have not placed a single cent into this company for the last 2-3 years but all we ask from the Government is to sanction what the Solomon Airlines is doing and move the company forward to benefit the country,” the general manager said. Mr Kraus highlighted that the national flag carrier had gone through ups and downs over the past years but it had been doing its best to serve the people. “Solomon Airlines will be here to stay for you.” Mr Kraus said the new airbus had just completed its livery paint job Thursday this week with photographs of the plane soon to be released. It will consist of 16 business class and 120 economic class passengers. The A320 will operate between Honiara and Brisbane four times a week and there are also plans to utilise the aircraft to commence flights to PNG and Fiji potentially via Vanuatu. Mr Kraus said it would soon operate flight to Brisbane in July and to PNG, Fiji and Vanuatu later in the year. The aircraft was leased from Sky Leasing in Tolluca, Mexico and it is currently in Melbourne now.

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