Solomon Airlines has confirmed the next phase of partnership cooperation with next-door neighbour Air Vanuatu, establishing a wet lease (ACMI) agreement as the carriers take an important step in improving synergies and efficiencies between their scheduled operations.
Effective Monday 05 June 2023, Solomon Airlines will commence operating a third frequency between Port Vila and Auckland for Air Vanuatu.
The service will depart Port Vila to Auckland on Mondays with return services from Auckland to Port Vila operating on Tuesdays, further complementing Air Vanuatu’s existing on Wednesday and Saturday services.
The new schedule also enables easy travel from Honiara to Auckland via Port Vila, effectively re-engaging Solomon Airlines’ re-entry to New Zealand via the Auckland gateway. Solomon Airlines and Air Vanuatu confirmed the airlines are working towards a codeshare operation on the route.
Under their newly penned agreement, Air Vanuatu will also restart direct flights between Brisbane and Santo, in Vanuatu, on Thursdays, with the new route also operated by Solomon Airlines.
Air Vanuatu CEO, Joseph Laloyer said the new international services would swiftly bring benefits for both nations, highlighting Vanuatu’s Tourism industry recovery and development as the country recovers from the trauma of recent events.
“Developing aviation and tourism in our region does not need to be a unique and stand-alone mission,” he said.
“We are national carriers with similar responsibilities and aims, we are of similar corporate size, and we are experiencing the same challenges to sustain our operations. With the learnings of the COVID pandemic, the realisation is even greater, that cooperation in our region is crucial to the survival of both airlines.
“At Air Vanuatu, we are very encouraged to embark on this new venture with Solomon Airlines and to build on the long-established collaboration and friendship between us.
“Engaging each other to support more robust and efficient operations is a very sound strategy and is in fact vital in the new operating environment.
“Already the addition of Solomon Airlines Twin Otter and crew to support our domestic network is working well, and we are now extending our partnership to international operations,” he said.
Solomon Airlines CEO, Gus Kraus agreed. “There is a strong synergy between Solomon Airlines and Air Vanuatu that extends from fleet, to operations, to distribution systems. This new agreement paves the way for us to help each other, whilst still maintaining the independence of each country’s national carrier,” he said.
“We are helping our neighbours and we’re both benefitting, it is only the beginning of opportunities that we can create by leveraging each other’s capabilities.”
Subject to regulatory approval, the new flights will be available for sale through both carrier’s distribution channels from May 2023. The airlines will both communicate the developments directly to their customers. There will be limited changes to Solomon Airlines international and domestic operations from Monday 5 June. The airline will do its utmost to limit inconvenience to those already booked on flights which may be impacted.