06 May 2009
Solomon Airlines confirmed today at a brief ceremony, that it has signed a strategic agreement to bring into its Brisbane operation, an Airbus 320-200 aircraft.
This aircraft will commence operation on the Brisbane to Honiara route from its first flight on the 3rd August 2009.
“The aircraft will give Solomon Airlines the added capacity required to meet the growing Tourism trends at somewhere around 18% increase annually; and also beds down certainty in the future of our International operation by securing a longer term arrangement that has capacity for growth”, the Chairman of Solomon Airlines said.
"Strategic Airlines, through its subsidiary Strategic Aviation, currently provides services to the Australian Defence Force and operates regular charter flights for other government and corporate customers within Australasia, with its Australian based Airbus A330-300. It has previously operated charter flights to the Solomon Islands; recently through USP students returning home from University (USP) and thereafter; for Australian government operations to/from Australia and the Solomon Islands."
Strategic has publicly announced in the Australian media that it has ordered 2 (two) Airbus A320 aircraft which it indicates will be ready for operations by July 2009.
The Airbus aircraft is an EASA built joint consortium European manufactured aircraft that is fast becoming the aircraft of choice in the region with Jetstar and Tiger Australia using these extensively and Air Calin and Air New Zealand also having these aircraft extensively in their fleet.
Strategic Management indicated, “besides the virtues that the aircraft will now be able to carry much more cargo; subject to loads, it will be able to ensure tanker age of more fuel at a cheaper price in Brisbane, thus increasing revenue and decreasing operational costs….a win/win for Solomon Airlines” they intimated.
The Chairman of Solomon Airlines went on to espouse the deal as “what is required to kick start our National Carriers approach to wrestling business from competition and to cater for our own future by keeping in Solomon Islands, what belongs to Solomon Islands”.
“The Airbus aircraft will be crewed by Strategic pilots and the cabin will be exclusive manned by Solomon Islands personnel employed currently by Solomon Airlines. This is something long time in coming and we welcome this new addition to ensuring that our reputation from the past is brought back to life”, the airline chairman further explained.
“Naturally, we need all of Solomon Islands and the business/corporate market, and Government to get onboard this new development to ensure we move forward with one of our main asset’s in this country and not forgetting, we could ‘do with a little help from our frens in RAMSI whilst they are assisting our country’s future” the chairman said.
An airline spokesman said that the new schedule, now under development and being circulated, will see an operation of Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Brisbane to Honiara with a direct return service to Brisbane at prime times.
Solomon Airlines further indicated that they have now advised previous partners, Our Airline, that the current agreement will cease on the 2nd August after that days’ operation but there is ongoing discussions regarding further capacity with the Our Airlines services via Honiara to Nauru weekly.
The spokesman further indicated that “whilst this may be seen by some quarters as a calculated risk, the airline further stressed that we currently operate three flights weekly with Our Airline on a not so good schedule; and we are now moving to a different operator and aircraft; still with three flights weekly with PRIME TIMES as a precursor to better meeting our clients travelling demands and schedules.
This includes greater connections from anywhere via Brisbane to Honiara and onwards through to our Domestic destinations and also; through Brisbane to the world and internal Australia and New Zealand.”
“This modern aircraft will be catering to 12 Business class clients and 144 economy passengers with COMFORT UNMATCHED on the route”. The spokesman said.
“Further more, now we shall have In-Flight Entertainment being movies and or music and HOT MEALS with NO MORE TO PAY”….an excited spokesman indicated.
‘Progress comes at a price and we believe price is relative to timing and rewards; and all this translates to “now is the right time (bottom of the cycle) and we anticipate the rewards will be there if we all get behind such a project.’
The airline made a final remark that “naturally, with the capacity this aircraft holds, our next step is to review how best we can commercially secure a Dash8 aircraft for the Domestic connections so as o maximise both advantages to our new found equation”…the airline summarised.