Intending candidate and former Cabinet minister Alfred Sasako has called for political intervention at the highest level to end the protracted dispute between Solomon Airlines and Fiji Airways, saying the crippling dispute must end immediately.
“The dispute has gone beyond the ability of civil aviation authorities in both countries to deal with meaningfully and decisively,” Mr Sasako said in a statement issued in Honiara last night.
“The last few weeks have proven far too costly for Solomon Islands and indeed the traveling public and there seems to be no end in sight. As such, the only way out as I see it is for political intervention with clear and decisive direction,” Mr Sasako said.
He said such directive can only come from the highest political level in both countries.
“In this instance I am appealing to the Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to take the initiative by talking to his counterpart.
“If it means picking up the phone and talking to his counterpart, so be it. If it means writing to his counterpart, so be it. If it means sending a demarche to Suva with clear decisive direction to resolve the protracted dispute, so be it,” Mr Sasako said.
Mr Sasako said the Prime Minister needs no reminding that the dispute is costing Solomon Islands more than it does Fiji financially as well as in time and irregular flight connections.
“The traveling public is suffering. Any responsible government cannot simply ignore the dispute that is costing its national carrier tens of thousands of dollars each week.
“Prime Minister Lilo simply has to intervene or he will be remembered for being an uncaring, self-centred and ego-driven Prime Minister rather than anything else,” Mr Sasako said.
“This dispute has provided him a golden opportunity to show his political skills in resolving regional conflicts,” he said.
The flight impasse has gone into more than two months since the dispute started off in mid July.