After discussions with the governments of the Solomon Islands and Australia, Solomon Airlines announced earlier today that it would be making changes to its Australian flight schedule as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The service that links the cities of Honiara and Brisbane will be reduced but not suspended completely.
The schedule changes
The regular schedule of Solomon Airlines sees five round-trip services between Honiara and Brisbane, Australia. However, once all the changes go into effect, this will be reduced to only three. These are the changes being made by the carrier:
- Brisbane to Munda (Solomon Islands) service was suspended on 14 March. The route was only launched last April.
- Effective from 21 March, the airline will suspend the Saturday Honiara-Brisbane service. The following day will see the suspension of the Saturday Brisbane-Honiara service
- Effective from 28 March, Solomon Airlines will suspend all Saturday and Sunday return services between Honiara and Brisbane
The airline states that these flight suspensions may remain in place until October 2020.
Changes made in the interests of Solomon Islanders
Chief Executive Officer Brett Gebers says that these changes are being made with the interests of Solomon Islanders as the company’s highest priority in light of the COVID-19 pandemic:
“At a time where a number of large airlines around the world are completely discontinuing their international operations, in so far as we are able, we will provide as much support to the Solomon Islands as well as to our fellow Islanders in the South Pacific to allow for the safe movement of essential personnel as well as critical supplies to continue. We will continue to take guidance and clear advice provided by Government health authorities. -Chief Executive Officer Brett Gebers
With business relations strong between the countries of Australia and the Solomon Islands, the airline plays a role in facilitating trade with its air link. Therefore, the CEO states that his airline will “try to maintain this link as far as possible, even in likelihood of increasing restrictions.“
Solomon Airlines says it is currently assessing the need for further schedule adjustments in response to selective travel bans made by the Australian and New Zealand governments in the last 24 hours.
With a workforce of roughly 300 employees, 95% of which are based in the Solomon Islands, Solomon Airlines serves a domestic network of 23 destinations. Its international network includes the following destinations:
All of these destinations are normally served with its very small fleet of aircraft, including a single Airbus A320 and a single DHC Dash 8-100.
“We will continue to keep our passengers and partners informed and we apologize for any inconvenience that these necessary changes may cause, as we all work through this difficult time,” Mr Gebers added.
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