15 Mar 2017

Solomon Airlines suspends another domestic route

From , 6:03 am on 15 March 2017

Landowner disputes have forced Solomon Islands national airline to suspend its domestic service to Santa Cruz in the easternmost province of Temotu.

The suspension of the twice weekly service began yesterday (Monday 13-03-2017) effectively cutting off the Santa Cruz group of islands, which takes weeks to reach by ship.

An airline spokesperson Colin Sigimanu says land disputes, often involving government, are a major issue for the airline because 80 percent of the operational airstrips are owned or controlled by landowners.

At least three other provincial airstrips in the Solomon Islands have been closed indefinitely because of land disputes.

One of these a new multi-million dollar airstrip on Manaoba in North Malaita has not been used since it was commissioned in 2013.

He spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the issue beginning with the latest suspension.

Vanikoro, Temotu Province, Solomon Islands.
Vanikoro is part of the Santa Cruz group

Vanikoro in Temotu Province, Solomon Islands. Photo: Supplied