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Local pilots proudly fly Solomon Airlines newest Airbus A320 home

Posted on July 27, 2023 at 05:00 PM in General News

  • Solomon Islands first pilot to graduate as an Airbus A320 First Officer

Caption: Solomon Islands born captains Mark Purdie and Daniel Leong pilot the inaugural flight of H4-SAL to Honiara

When Solomon Airlines new international aircraft took off on its maiden flight from Brisbane to Honiara today, for the first time in the airline’s history, both pilots were born and raised in Solomon Islands.

Proudly at the controls was local pilot, Captain Daniel Leong, the first Solomon Islands pilot to graduate as an Airbus A320 First Officer. Flying with him was Captain Mark Purdie, also born in Solomon Islands and now the national carrier’s Manager of Flight Operations and also an Airbus A320 Training Captain.

Captain Leong completed his A320-200 training requirements earlier this year successfully perfoming line check training on a Solomon Airlines flight between Brisbane and Auckland via Honiara and Port Vila.

“We are tremendously proud to have local pilots in command of our newest international aircraft to operate the inaugural flight from Brisbane,” said Solomon Airlines CEO Mr Gus Kraus.

“In the past two years, Solomon Airlines has made rapid progress with our aim to provide career development opportunities for Solomon Islands local pilots.

“We are confident that we can attract and retain more local pilots and part of that is offering pilots an ongoing career opportunity with Solomon Airlines,” he added.

Solomon Airlines now has a De Havilland Canada 8-100 (Dash 8) with upgraded local captains including Captain Linda Owen and Captain Jerry Tumuri, and Capt Steve Aumanu as a First Officer on the Dash 8 soon to be considered for command.

The national carrier has also confirmed the local appointments to senior and technical positions including Daniel Bugotu as Safety & Compliance Manager, Malina Ilala as Chief Finance Officer, Aketa Nanauasi as Manager Quality Assurance, Lister Hopa as Manager Continuing Airworthiness and newly instilled Henky Leketo as Financial Controller.

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