17 Dec 2013

Landowners in Malaita, Solomon Islands, closes local airport

10:15 am on 17 December 2013

In Solomon Islands, landowners have indefinitely closed the Gwaunaru'u airport near Auki, Malaita province.

The Solomon Star paper reports it understands the move came after the civil aviation breached some parts of a memorandum of understanding signed with local landowners to reopen it last year.

The paper says it's unclear which part of the MOU was breached by the government.

The closure of the airport has hampered travel plans for passengers wanting to travel to Auki on business or holiday.

One officer within the flight operation of the ministry of communication and aviation has confirmed receiving a notice to stop any flights to Gwaunaru'u airport until further notice.

The premier of Malaita, Edwin Suibaea, says he has heard the news but he's yet to get the full details of it.

Solomon Airline provides daily service to Gwaunaru'u airport since it reopened last year but with the closure of the airport, passengers will now have to travel by boat to and from the province.

Gwaunaru'u airport was closed for sometime last year but was reopened after government and landowners reached an agreement.