21 October 2020

NATIONAL carrier Solomon Airlines is in a deep financial dilemma due to the ongoing health threat brought about by COVID-19 to the airline industry.

In a public statement to update the country, Solomon Airlines Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brett Gebers said COVID-19 has really impacted the airline operations which resulted in border closures and travel restrictions.

He said since then Solomon Airlines' operation has slashed its workforce on reduced pay, with some staff working on a rotational basis each month to share available work and remain ready for an increase in business.

Mr. Gebers said like other airlines elsewhere, Solomon Airlines has minimal cash reserves and is facing serious financial problems.

“The truth simply is, that with over 60% of the Company’s revenue vanishing overnight and fixed costs remaining, there is a problem – and the daily reality for Solomon Airlines is now a case of survival, a dire situation which has required some drastic action.”

The CEO said the future is gloomy which needs the support of the government and whatever revenue being raised through their operations.

“The future is unclear and our survival depends upon Government support and the intermittent revenue we raise as we wait to reopen Solomon Islands borders and begin regular operations again,” he said.

The CEO highlighted the need to preserve the national carrier.

“Airlines is critical to economic recovery and to future economic development,” he said.

The government has recently pumped in $20million in the capital and equity injections to Solomon Airlines, which was structured at $5 million cash injection and $15 million dollars as a concessional loan.

But its understood this amount has provided little relief to the airline.