Solomon Airlines confirmed today that it will suspend services to Port Moresby in PNG with effect from its last flight on 3rd July next month.
The airline made it clear that it was only a suspension and will advise in due course regarding it’s re-entry into the PNG market at a later date.
The spokesperson clarified that a number of initiatives had to be taken to ensure its future plans remain intact.
Firstly, the airline said, “our long term plans were to always link PNG to Fiji via Honiara and Vila but due to the priorities we set ourselves with the Australian/Brisbane prime day services, it was always going to be difficult to make a through service work unless it was closer to weekends. This could not be done with our prime services on Friday afternoon and Sunday/Monday”
In the meantime, the airline said, the PNG route has not been as effective as was initially desired and prudent management means when times are tough, we had to make the ‘suspension’ decision and review our plans.
The airline continued that revised ‘plans were ready to link PNG to Fiji to be effective in August this year but when discussing plans with the Maintenance provider of our Airbus H4-BUS, John Holland Engineering of Australia, they indicated they would not be able to support the aircraft should we go ahead with the plans of additional utilisation of H4-BUS from August as they were fully stretched with limited resources.’
This really meant ‘we had to review our total plans and together with the continued HIGH COST of the Airlines PNG Dash8 lease, the airline took the decision which included the suspension of our PNG route and also may include the returning of Airlines PNG’s Dash8 aircraft in due course.’
Solomon Airlines indicated they were ‘working closely with Air Niugini to gauge availability to purchase one of their Dash8 aircraft and also had discussions when Air Niugini would be ready to bring online their newly acquired Boeing B737-700/800 aircraft on the route to Honiara and Nadi.’
This would be timely for each to have their larger aircraft serving the route together as partners. This was expected later in the year.’
Solomon Airlines are hoping to re-enter the PNG market later in the year