Sadly, a Solomon Airlines spokesperson indicated, the Airlines PNG Dash8 on lease to Solomon Airlines in Solomon Islands has had continuous minor technical issues which have affected the total scheduled operation of Solomon Airlines throughout the Solomon Islands.
Solomon Airlines has had to continuously review its daily Dash8 tasks and rescheduled flights, which at times have affected the Western runs but mainly; affecting the good people in Lata and Makira Provinces which meant “limited schedules” and at times, NO SCHEDULES for the people in Lata.
In the main, there have been two issues identified with the Dash8 that has created a somewhat LESS THAN SATISFACTORY service standard for Solomon Airlines from Airlines PNG.
The HF radio is integral to all operations for aircrafts in this region. The HF issue has been an ongoing intermittent problem which has meant that only routes that are close proximity to Henderson are able to operate and or close proximity to another communication Flight Service centre of which there is one in Munda. Therefore, the aircraft is able to maintain communication with flight service through these closer proximity locations of the frequency used for transmitting and receiving ‘Flight service’ information.
Whilst it may appear that Kirakira is also in close proximity to Henderson, with the cruise levels of this route, the radio communication is rendered as inoperable and therefore the Dash8 is unable to operate on that route.
Furthermore, the other problem on the Dash8 is related to the GPS or Global Positioning System which is its navigation system not currently reading satellites and therefore on the longer route to Lata, will be unable to identify Lata and its coordinates. Should there be any doubt about the serviceable operation of the GPS; the pilots are unable to depart Henderson which has been the case.
“In the past couple of weeks, we have been awaiting information from APNG on a permanent fix of this issue to have full operational use of the Dash8 again. This has not been forthcoming although APNG have had up to three engineers on the ground at Henderson reviewing all the Dash8 Avionics system to find a solution without success.”
The airline apologized; especially to the people of Lata; for the on-again; off-again plans affecting the Dash8 operation to Santa Cruz and have now scheduled a few additional Twin Otter flights over the next few days to assist in the backlog and hope that Airlines PNG finds a fix/solution to the issues soon. People of Makira, being closer to Henderson, are receiving some Islander and Twin Otter support and maintaining some reasonable service there.