OUR one and only national air carrier the Solomon Airlines has been bombarded with criticism in social media about its safety inconvenience it has created.
Following massive critics flooded in the social media the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Solomon Airlines Brett Gebers apologized for inconvenience experienced for the last few weeks.
The CEO made the apology in an open letter published on the Airlines website.
“On behalf of Solomon Airlines, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience experienced and to thank all our valued customers for their patience over the past few weeks.
“As they would be aware, we recently experienced several disruptions due to our Airbus undergoing a mechanical failure which unfortunately occurred during one of the busiest seasons of the year.
The CEO said managing disruptions over the festive season was always challenging due to the large number of passengers involved, staff being on leave and many suppliers being closed during the public holidays and this year proved particularly difficult with Christmas Day falling on a Monday and with many suppliers closed from mid-Friday until Wednesday morning.
He said despite the difficult circumstances, they were able to maintain their International services.
“However we did experience a few delays while an alternative aircraft was sourced from Air Nauru and flown to Honiara from Brisbane.
“I need to stress that in our business, safety always comes first!
“Solomon Airlines has never operated any of its aircraft using procedures which are not approved by both the manufacturer and the regulating authorities.
“If the aircraft cannot be operated in accordance with those procedures and regulations, we either replace the aircraft, as we did in this case, or we cancel the flight.
“As far as our domestic services go, we have unfortunately had to reschedule many flights over the past few months due to unserviceable equipment including weather radar, difficulty in obtaining spare parts, bad weather and heavy rains which flood runway surfaces.”
He said their domestic aircraft operate in harsh conditions caused primarily by the state of the runways that they operate to.
“The rough surfaces of our domestic runways cause significant vibration during the landing and take-off phases of flight. This vibration is amplified in certain parts of the aircraft and often leads to the premature failure of components.’’
The CEO added the failure of these components results in schedule disruptions as we must remove the aircraft from service to make the appropriate repairs.
“We are not responsible for maintaining the runway surfaces throughout the Solomon Islands.’’
“Because of the high costs of ongoing maintenance and cancelled or rescheduled flights, we have offered to pay for and do the required runway rehabilitation work on many occasions.
“But on each occasion that we have requested permission to do this work, we have been denied the approval to do so.”
In closing the CEO pointed out all airlines experience technical problems and disruptions to their services from time to time.
“And while most have a large fleet of aircraft which allows them to minimise the effects of a disruption through rescheduling flights, we only have a small fleet of aircraft, so all delays and cancellations are immediately obvious to all concerned.
“Again, we sincerely regret any inconvenience experienced by our customers but we will always cancel or reschedule a flight to ensure the safety of all concerned.
“It goes without saying Solomon Airlines’ passenger and crew safety is paramount and must always come first,’’ he added.