Solomon Airlines has announced the suspension of flights to Gizo from May 26 to August 21 due to the upgrading of the Nusatupe airstrip.
Solomon Airlines has been advised by aviation authorities that Nusatupe will be closed from May 27 to allow ground work to start on making Nusatupe an all weather airstrip.
As a result, all Solomon Airline flights to the Western Province will end at Munda.
“Although the closure of Nusatupe will have a major impact on Airline business with Gizo being our busiest route, the upgrade will have long term benefits for the travelling public and the tourism industry,” said Solomon Airlines, General Manager, Commercial and Operations, Gus Kraus.
“The tar sealing of the airstrip will mean that from August onwards, flights to Gizo will no longer be subject to weather delays or a potentially unsafe runway,” he added.
Upon advice of the airstrip’s closure by the Ministry of Communication and Civil Aviation via the contractors, Downers, Solomon Airline has stopped issuing tickets to travel to and from Gizo after May 26.
For passengers who have already paid for tickets to Gizo, Solomon Airlines will provide boat transfers with arrangements via suitable operator to/from Munda. The same service will be available for passengers in Gizo with existing tickets to fly to Honiara.
“For passengers wanting to travel to Gizo after May 26, they will have to organize in advance, their own water transport details from our last point of disembarkation, which is Munda. We are sure there will be operators prepared to take customers at a reasonable fee to and from Gizo to Munda.
“All tourism operators have been informed of the situation including the Ministry and SIVB and there are still discussions on the best way forward to ensure minimised disruptions to all Airline clients. New schedules have been developed and for passengers travelling to Choisul/Taro, as well as Ballalae and Kagau, all these flights will be routed via Munda.”
The Gizo upgrade follows infrastructure work on the Munda airfield and is the latest in the government’s upgrading of aviation infrastructure around the country.