The Solomon Islands Finance Minister says the new air service linking Brisbane with Honiara and Santo in Vanuatu reflects the progress made in developing co-operation between Melanesian countries.
Gordon Darcy Lilo has just returned from Santo where a ceremony on Saturday marked the inaugural flight of the new Solomon Airlines service which will fly four times a week.
He says the new service means more tourists for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and more business and recreational travel opportunities for locals in the neighbouring Melanesian countries.
Mr Lilo says the establishment of this new service is an example of the benefits of co-operation in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
"Really stepping up, and moving away from just talking about it but practically putting in place, or venturing into, economic and investment ventures that actually prove that kind of co-operation that will work for the Melanesian countries. It's a very good example of proving the intentions of Melanesian co-operation that we have been talking about for quite some time."
Gordon Darcy Lilo