The damage forced Solomon Airlines to suspend its twice-weekly Dash 8 service to Luova airport as of last week until the damage caused to the runway was repaired.
The Dash 8 service to Lata was on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Opposition leader Matthew Wale this week called for the suspension of the company’s felling licence on account of the damage caused to the Lata airstrip. Mr. Wale’s statement, carried by both Solomon Star and Island Sun, included a call on the company to repair the damage immediately.
“Clearly, the article was premised on the allegation that the damage done to the Lata airstrip was caused by the on-going use of the runaway by the Company as a logging road. The damage had made the runaway unsafe for planes to land,” Xiang Lin (SI) Ltd said in a statement yesterday.
“The Company is surprised that the Parliamentary Opposition and both newspapers never bothered or even made any slightest attempt to verify the truth of the allegation with the Company.
“Had these three entities done so they could have found out that the allegation was in fact false and misleading. This was the case as never at any time did any of the Company’s machinery or trucks had used the runaway as a logging road.
“The Opposition and these two newspapers could have done justice to all parties concerned had they contacted Solomon Power for sufficient details on the current earthworks that occurred in the vicinity of the runaway.”
But Solomon Power said it was not responsible for the damage as the trench it had dug for its underground cable runs parallel to the runaway.
“What Solomon Power was doing at Lata airport had nothing to do with the road that runs across the runway. What is being complained of is the use of an existing road which runs right across the runway,” an official said yesterday.
Meanwhile the land coordinator for the logging company, Macpherson Ara has denied Xiang Lin (SI) Ltd was responsible for the damage.
“None of the company’s machinery or heavy trucks has used the road across the runway because the company is located some 30km away from the airport,” he said.
“No, no, no. It can’t be,” Mr. Ara said.
When asked to speak to the company’s managing director, Solomon Star was told yesterday “he was out playing golf.”
This is not the first time Xian Lin (SI) Ltd has got into trouble with the public. A few years ago its operation in Temotu Province was the subject of an environmental international investigation.
The statement said the Company is demanding an immediate apology from the Parliamentary Opposition Leader as well as from the editors of these two renowned newspapers.