Speaking before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently Ron Sumsum said, the country is amongst regional countries which has the largest number of domestic airports which are scattered over long distances.
Therefore, Mr Sumsum stressed that having a Dash-8 aircraft operating into some of these domestic airports is the answer as it is more economical and time saving for the airline business and the travelling public.
He said that some provinces have more than one or two airports therefore flying a Twin Otter plane in those places will not cater for the demand as far as economic wisdom is concern.
“Since Dash-8 is here, we have to make use of it by improving the standards of our airports for it to operate its services to these provinces.
“Flying Dash-8 is more economical seeing the importance of capacity wise of scheduled flights and time saving for our business.”
Sumsum highlighted that Solomon Islands has the longest route, a domestic flight could serve and that is Honiara/Lata route which takes approximately three hours to travel, similar to Honiara/Brisbane and Honiara/Nadi route.
“Lomlom airport is further east to Lata and it has been completed but what airline wants is to further upgrade so that Dash-8 could service one flight for Lata and Lomlom, rather than sending two flights separately to those two airports,” he said.
He added that looking at the map of Solomon Islands and comparing the stretch of distance from north, south, east and west shows you the large distances that airline services is serving, which is the largest in the pacific region.
“So it is wise and more economical for us to upgrade our airports to meet Dash-8 standard, which would be more convenient and efficient in providing the service we need,” he said.
He pointed out that Dash-8 would be the answer to the far-stretching distances, and the country had to make use of it since it is here, and the more it stays idle it makes a lose since time and depreciation of values are counted.
By AATAI JOHN