TWO disputing parties of the Gwaunaru’u airport land, near Auki, Malaita Province have indicated their willingness to review the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in 2012.
The dispute has forced Solomon Airlines to halt flight services to the airport for the past 13 months.
The dispute was in relation to disagreements over awarding of contracts to maintain the airstrip.
Ministry of Communication and Aviation permanent secretary, Francis Lomo said Rofa Toloabu tribe and Biranakwao Fulisisila tribe are willing to review the agreement to open the airport for flights again this year.
Mr Lomo said the review of the agreement promises to end the ongoing dispute over the maintenance contract which halted services.
Solomon Star understands both parties signed the 2012 MOU to allow flights after a land dispute came up over the airport.
This was done while both parties tried to sort out the land dispute in the High Court to determine the right ownership over the airport.
However, prior to the signing of the MOU, someone raised an issue over a neutral person to look after the maintenance of the airport while it opened for flights.
As such, both parties agreed to appoint their provincial ward member Martin Fini to coordinate the maintenance work by appointing youths, women and church groups.
One year down the line, both parties have complained to Ministry of Communication and Aviation that Mr Fini did not coordinate the maintenance work well and decided to remove him.
Therefore, both parties agreed to sidestep Mr Fini and shared the maintenance work amongst themselves every three months.
It was allegedly found that Mr Fini used his political power to influence the chiefs at Gwounoru’u community to disturb the operation of the airport.
PS Lomo said it is highly likely under the new MOU, that both parties will remove Mr Fini from the agreement and take hold of the maintenance work on the airport.
He said if a new MOU is established and someone moves in to intercept again, they treated such as a police case if they are not catered for under the MOU.
Mr Fini previously told Solomon Star in Auki that he has the power under the MOU to coordinate maintenance work and not the members of the disputing parties.
By EDDIE OSIFELO