Solomon Airlines clarifies current air cargo agreement with provinces

Solomon Airlines would like to clarify the current airfreight of government and private cargo to provinces in the Solomon Islands under arrangements supported by the Australian Government.

Solomon Airlines aircraft are operating limited, cargo-only domestic flights within the Solomon Islands, partially funded by the Australian Government, to support the distribution of critical government medical equipment and supplies, including PPE, to provinces .

Australian aid supplies (photo provided)

The Government of the Solomon Islands, through the COVID-19 Oversight Committee (OSC), determines daily the routes it asks Solomon Airlines to fly.

We understand that there has been some confusion among the public about the possibilities of sending personal freight on these aircraft, as well as about the Australian Government’s assumption of airfreight costs.t,” Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gebers said.

“Solomon Airlines can only fly flights approved by the OSC. The OSC reviews each request and prioritizes routes based on where medical supplies are needed. The space left after transporting these critical medical supplies is available for any other cargo shipped by our customers at our normal rates.

“Our normal freight rates were set at a time when we were allowed to carry a mix of passengers and freight in both directions. Because we are not allowed to carry passengers unless specifically approved by the CSO, we have empty sectors towards Honiara where we do not earn any revenue. Flying in empty sectors without income is a loss-making exercise.

“This is where the Australian Government helps Solomon Airlines. The Australian Government covers costs that are not recovered from the normal sale of goods.

Australian High Commissioner Lachlan Strahan said:The Australian Government does not cover the full cost of current Solomon Arlines domestic flights, but does cover some costs to ensure the flights and SolAir can continue to operate. Australia is delighted to work through this partnership with Solomon Airlines and the Government of the Solomon Islands to ensure Solomon Airlines continues to operate and deliver medical supplies, food and other essentials to the provinces.

“Our team works every day to ensure that if there is enough space for private cargo we move it, or if there is enough demand to warrant a flight, we do everything we can to ensure that it happen”, said Brett Gebers.

“Solomon Airlines will continue to work closely with the Solomon Islands government and the Australian government to ensure that we quickly distribute essential medical supplies to where they are needed.

“We thank the Australian government for their support of our nation.

“Solomon Airlines is currently only carrying medical equipment and PPE, and we are ready and able to carry supplies as well, if requested to do so,” he added.

Solomon Airlines Press

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