Just two days after shutting down operations and grounding all international and domestic flights, Solomon Airlines says it is taking to the air again – from today.
The sudden suspension of services earlier this week led Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to advise travellers “to contact their airline, travel agent or tour operator for information on disruption to flights”. See: Solomon Airlines grounds flights and airport services
Yesterday, however, Solomon Airlines advised that it would “resume full operation of all international and domestic services” from today, Thursday 9 June 2016.
“The airline will also resume all services provided to all other airlines utilising Henderson International Airport in its capacity as ground handling agent,” a statement said, adding that “Captain Sumsum said Solomon Airlines unreservedly apologised for any inconvenience the situation had caused the airline’s passengers, its codeshare partners and other international carriers and their passengers”.
DFAT has not yet issued an advisory that reflects the airline’s latest statement. DFAT’s original advisory, warning travellers about the suspension of services, was in still in place on DFAT’s smartraveller.gov.au website at 1330 hours (AEST) today.
Reporting on the airline’s earlier decision to ground all services, Radio New Zealand said that in ordering the indefinite shutdown, the airline’s chief executive, Captain Ron Sumsum, had referred to millions of dollars in unpaid government arrears .
In an official statement delivered later to codeshare partners and other international carriers operating into Henderson International Airport in Honiara, Sumsum attributed the drastic decision to “a dispute with the Solomon Islands’ Government” and said it had not been taken lightly.
“I am confident the Solomon Islands’ Government will address the situation in a very short time,” Sumsum said.
Radio New Zealand said it understood that the airline’s domestic pilots were having to make longer and more frequent flights because the carrier’s largest and fastest domestic aircraft, a Dash 8, “was sent to Australia in March for scheduled maintenance and repairs”. Before that aircraft could return to service, the repair bill needed to be paid, the broadcaster said.
Written by Peter Needham