In a bid to capture some of the ‘Pacific Games business,’ the national career is working on bringing second airbus into the country in July-August under a government-guarantee arrangement
SOLOMON Airlines is anticipating the arrival of its second airbus, an X-Jet star airbus, in July-August this year.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gus Kraus, confirmed this in a press conference yesterday.
He said a Letter of Intent has been signed and in the next couple of weeks, they will start the negotiation for the lease agreement.
“If everything goes well, we are anticipating the second airbus fleet by July and the very latest would be in August [just] in time to capture some of the Pacific Games business,” Mr Kraus said.
“We are waiting for the government to give us guarantee that we are good to go to secure the second airbus,” he said.
Mr Kraus said they have supplied all the required data and the government has assured them of its support to the project.
The project will have to go through a guarantee programme with the government and the airlines is hoping the financial institution approves the capital injection for startup capital to begin the airbus programme.
He said with the second airbus they are looking for they would need additional cabin crew and pilots.
Mr Kraus said securing a lease agreement for second airbus is the biggest decision they ever made. “This is a big decision.”
He recalled that the last time Solomon Airlines took the first airbus 737-400 was in 1989.
Due to lack of maintenance, it went out of service and since then, Solomon Airlines has only one airbus.
He said if Solomon Airlines is to expand into the Papua New Guinea, Kiribati and event to Christmas Islands markets, it has to have a second airbus.
Mr Kraus said just recently when the airbus was grounded, they spent $4.5 million to Air Nauru and this highlights the urgency of having a second airbus to pick up from the downtime.
“There is nothing better than paying yourself than paying others,” he said.
Mr Kraus also added that securing the second airbus is part of partnership with Air Vanuatu.
The Solomon Airlines CEO, in effort to strengthen the national airlines’ partnership with Air Vanuatu, left yesterday to discuss the new partnership.
He said under the new partnership, Air Vanuatu will be operating the flight from Brisbane to Santo and return as of June 15.
That will also extend to Vila overnight in Auckland.
BY CHARLES KADAMANA