SOLOMON Airlines said last week that it has signed a historic agreement to bring a Dash 8 aircraft into its domestic operations from Dec 7 which will remain part of its fleet for the long term, Solomon Times Online reports.
The aircraft will be leased from Airlines PNG, a privately listed company on the PNG Stock Exchange, which was previously owned by the Wild family, long time residents in PNG since the early 1950s.
The lease is for a period two years with an option of two further years subject to the continued expansion of capacity to be equally met by the traffic demand internally.
“The aircraft will give Solomon Airlines the added capacity required to meet the growing trends indicated on its domestic route and will allow for future capacity expansion to handle larger volumes of tourism expected in the coming years,” an airline spokesman said.
“Naturally, and as a flow-on effect of our decision to secure a dedicated Airbus A320 service between Brisbane and Honiara, it goes without saying that our domestic capacity must be equally grown to ensure that the ‘feeds’ into and out of our domestic routes has to be somewhat matched by the larger capacity from/to Australia.”
“The beginning of the Dash 8 aircraft into Solomon Islands was trialled in 2003-04, where Airlines PNG also supplied a Dash8 aircraft for short periods of time and this proved popular and effective but, this was not followed through to a longer term arrangement due to the tension period and a slowing in the economy,” the airline indicated.
“More recently, in January and February of this year, the airline brought in a Vincent Aviation Dash8 aircraft from New Zealand which also proved popular with our domestic market travellers.
“This was again only to meet the peak after Christmas seasonal demand,” the spokesman said. – Solomon Times Online