New Solomon Airline airbus arriving on Thursday

Photo: Solomon Airlines

Solomon Islands second airbus will touch down at Honiara International Airport on Thursday this week.

The country’s national flag carrier, Solomon Airlines, is acquiring the second airbus through an eight-year lease.

In a statement, Solomon Airlines said the airlines newest addition to its international fleet is called “HA-SAL”.

Solomon Airlines Board chairman Frank Wickham said the airline with support from the national government has purchased the aircraft under lease at the cost of USD$210,000 (SBD1.7million) per month.

Wickham also confirmed the appointment of Sean Teo to manage the entry of the aircraft into service.

He said the decision to acquire the second airbus is based on the airline’s commitment and confidence in the future of the airline industry.

Not only that but he said the national carrier will be flying many athletes, officials and spectators to Honiara for the November Pacific Games.

Wickham was speaking to members of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) during the Business After Five event held in Honiara. 

He said the new aircraft will have similar features to the current plane and work to put on final touches to the aircraft is now underway before its maiden trip to Honiara on Thursday 27th July 2023.

A ceremony to welcome the aircraft is also being planned for Thursday.

Wickham also expressed Solomon Airlines appreciation to the government and private sector partners who continued to offer on-going strong support for the redevelopment of the national carrier following the impact of the covid pandemic.

Outgoing Solomon Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gus Kraus had informed the country of the airline’s intention to acquire the aircraft given its strategic locations.

It’s believed the airline’s submission to the government for support was approved resulting in the acquisition of this new aircraft.

The good news comes as the country formally signed a service agreement with New Zealand last week.

Solomon Airlines is currently operating through code share the Honiara-Port Vila-Auckland route each week since June. The new Air Service Agreement is a framework embracing contemporary practices in the aviation industry, characterised by a more modern outlook on the collective vision of both countries to enhance their partnership and foster greater collaboration in the realm of air connectivity. Solomon Islands is also preparing to sign a similar air deal with China.