Solomon Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
IE SOL SOLOMON
Founded1962
HubsHoniara International Airport
Fleet size6
Destinations33
HeadquartersHoniara, Solomon Islands
Key peopleGus Kraus (CEO)
Websitewww.flysolomons.com

Solomon Airlines is the national airline of Solomon Islands,[1] based in Honiara.[2]

History

Solomon Airlines was established in 1962 as a charter airline by Laurie Crowley. Crowley had a charter operation in Papua New Guinea with occasional charter flights to the Solomons using a single Piper Aztec. As no commercial aircraft were based in Solomon Islands, Crowley decided to start an airline and called it Megapode Airlines.

Papua New Guinea-based Macair purchased Megapode in 1968, and changed the airline's name to Solomon Islands Airways, with the acronym of SOLAIR, and changed the operation from a charter airline to a regular schedule. Under Macair, SOLAIR served the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, with two De Havilland Doves and two Beechcraft Barons.

In 1975, Macair (including its SOLAIR subsidiary) were bought by Dennis Buchanan, owner of Talair in Papua New Guinea, and in 1976, the airline received two Beechcraft Queen Air 80 airplanes. At the time, the Solomon Islands Government bought 49 percent of the airline's shares and with rights to purchase the remaining 51 percent by the next five years.

For the next five years, growth was slow but steady. A brand new Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner was bought, and services were established to Vanuatu.

In 1984 the Government decided to purchase all of the airline's remaining shares, and two De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters and one Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante were leased from Talair. Soon after full Government take-over, the three leased planes were returned. In 1987, the sale of the airline and its assets Pacific Car Rental (a subsidiary of Avis) and the tour company Hunts of the Pacific, were completed.

The new ownership was met with skepticism and distrust by airline workers, and many trained personnel left the company, including some on the managerial level. The government was faced with the task of rebuilding the airline, and it started doing so by investing 2 million dollars to buy two DHC-6-300 Twin Otters. Soon, a new livery was introduced, and the name was changed to "Solomon Airlines" officially.

Solomon Airlines Airbus A320-211 at Honiara International Airport in 2012

A joint venture with Qantas followed, and then Solomon Airlines entered the jet age by leasing a Boeing 737 from Air Pacific. Solomon Airlines and Air Pacific soon also made a joint venture, but when Air Pacific announced in 1989 it was planning to substitute its Boeing 737 with a Boeing 767 to upgrade international services, Solomon Airlines was forced to lease one from another company, and so it decided on leasing a 737 owned by International Lease Finance Corporation. Since then, the airline has operated with leased 737s alongside its own turbo-props.

In 1999, after ethnic violence broke out in the Solomons, the United Nations imposed sanctions which severely damaged the airline's international operations, and at one point, the airline was forced to retain only is scheduled services to Brisbane. Since the end of the conflict, the airline has reestablished its international network.

In November 2006, Solomon Airlines obtained a Boeing B737-300 aircraft including pilots and cabin crew, leased by the Spanish AirClass Airways.

For the months of January and February 2009, Solomon Airlines leased a De Havilland Canada Dash 8 seating 40, from Vincent Aviation of Wellington, New Zealand while one of its Twin Otter aircraft was undergoing heavy maintenance at Honiara.

In August 2009, Solomon Airlines obtained an Airbus A320-200 aircraft including pilots, leased by Strategic Airlines.[3] When the lease with Strategic Airlines expired Solomon Airlines acquired an Airbus A320-211 and obtained its own Air Operators Certificate.

On 7 June 2016 Solomon Airlines suspended all operations, including international and domestic flights and ground operations, stranding passengers at Honiara.[4] The airline's CEO, Ron Sum Sum, said that the grounding was caused by the government's failure to pay millions of dollars in arrears.[5][6] The airline resumed operations two days later.[7]

On 12 May 2023, CEO Gus Kraus confirmed that the airline was looking to acquire a second A320-200 to expand services and cater to an expected increase in demand from the 2023 Pacific Games to be held in Honiara later in the year.[8]

Destinations

Solomon Airlines currently operates regular return services from Honiara to Brisbane-Australia, Nadi-Fiji (own aircraft & codeshare), Port Vila, Vanuatu (own aircraft & codeshare), Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (codeshare only), and Tarawa, Kiribati.

Solomon Airlines also operates an extensive domestic network around Solomon Islands.

Current destinations

City Country IATA ICAO Airport Refs
Atoifi  Solomon Islands ATD AGAT Uru Harbour Airport
Auckland  New Zealand AKL NZAA Auckland Airport
Auki  Solomon Islands AKS AGGA Auki Gwaunaru'u Airport
Avu Avu  Solomon Islands AVU AGGJ Avu Avu Airport
Balalae  Solomon Islands BAS AGGE Balalae Airport
Bellona Island  Solomon Islands BNY AGGB Bellona/Anua Airport
Brisbane  Australia BNE YBBN Brisbane Airport [9]
Choiseul Bay  Solomon Islands CHY AGGC Choiseul Bay Airport
Fera Island  Solomon Islands FRE AGGF Fera Airport
Gizo  Solomon Islands GZO AGGN Nusatupe Airport
Honiara  Solomon Islands HIR AGGH Honiara International Airport
Kaghau  Solomon Islands KGE AGKG Kaghau Airport
Kirakira  Solomon Islands IRA AGGK Kirakira Airport
Marau  Solomon Islands RUS AGGU Marau Airport
Mbambanakira  Solomon Islands MBU AGGD Mbambanakira Airport
Mono  Solomon Islands MNY AGGO Mono Airport
Munda  Solomon Islands MUA AGGM Munda Airport
Nadi  Fiji NAN NFFN Nadi International Airport via Port Vila[10][11]
Ngatokae  Solomon Islands GTA AGOK Gatokae Aerodrome
Ontong Java  Solomon Islands OTV AGGQ Ontong Java Airport
South Malaita  Solomon Islands PRS AGGP Parasi Airport [12]
Port Moresby  Papua New Guinea POM AYPY Port Moresby International Airport [13]
Port Vila  Vanuatu VLI NVVV Bauerfield International Airport
Ramata  Solomon Islands RBV AGRM Ramata Airport
Rennell  Solomon Islands RNL AGGR Rennell/Tingoa Airport
Santa Ana  Solomon Islands NNB AGGT Santa Ana Airport
Santa Cruz Islands  Solomon Islands SCZ AGGL Santa Cruz/Graciosa Bay/Luova Airport
Seghe  Solomon Islands EGM AGGS Seghe Airport
Suavanao  Solomon Islands VAO AGGV Suavanao Airport
Sydney  Australia SYD YSSY Sydney Airport [14]
Ulawa Island  Solomon Islands RNA AGAR Ulawa Airport
Tarawa  Kiribati TRW NGTA Bonriki International Airport
Yandina  Solomon Islands XYA AGGY Yandina Airport

Livery

The airline's original livery consisted of an overall white fuselage, with a cheatline extending up onto the vertical fin in colours mirroring those of the national flag. The vertical fin was mainly royal blue, with five white stars prominently displayed. The single word "Solomons" was carried above the window line forward, along with the national flag.

With the acquisition of the Airbus A320 in 2011 a decision was made to "refresh" the livery. The new livery consists of an all-white fuselage with the single word "Solomons" carried above the forward windows and "Spirit of Solomons" in grey below the forward window line. The tail and winglets have a stylised version of the national flag. The underside of the fuselage has a large white flysolomons.com on a blue background.

Fleet

Solomon Airlines Embraer E-170 on wet-lease during 2007
Solomon Airlines operated the Boeing 737 seen at Auckland Airport in 2000

As of July 2023, the Solomon Airlines fleet comprises the following aircraft:[15]

Solomon Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In
Service
Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 2
De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter 2
De Havilland Canada DHC-6-300HG Twin Otter 1
DHC-8-100 (Dash-8) 1
Total 6

Historical fleet

In the past, Solomon Airlines operated:[16]

Codeshare agreements

Solomon Airlines has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[17]

Accidents

Solomon Airlines have lost two aircraft during their history. These were a BN-2A Islander in 1978 near Bellona Island and a DH6 Twin Otter in 1991 over Guadalcanal, resulting in 26 fatalities.[18]

References

  1. ^ About Us – Solomon Airlines – Solomon Islands National Airline
  2. ^ "Contacts Archived 2010-05-25 at the Wayback Machine." Solomon Airlines. Retrieved on 26 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Airline to get new aircraft in August", Solomon Star, May 7, 2009
  4. ^ "Solomon Islands travel advice - GOVUK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  5. ^ "Solomon Airlines suspends operations". ch-aviation. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  6. ^ "Solomons aviation ministry hopes to end shutdown". Radio New Zealand. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  7. ^ "Solomon Airlines resumes ops as Honiara takes aim at CEO". CH-Aviation. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
  8. ^ "Solomon Airlines to Get Second Aircraft, Ex-Jetstar - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC)". 2023-05-13. Retrieved 2023-05-14.
  9. ^ "Solomon Airlines flies to Sydney and Brisbane in lead up to Xmas".
  10. ^ "Solomon Airlines renews Fiji services". Archived from the original on 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2015-02-07.
  11. ^ "Solomon Airlines Returns to Nadi for Easter". www.flysolomons.com. Solomon Airlines. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  12. ^ "Solomon Airlines Returns to Parasi". www.flysolomons.com. Solomon Airlines. Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  13. ^ "Solomon Airlines adds Port Moresby flights in late October 2022".
  14. ^ "Solomon Airlines flies to Sydney and Brisbane in lead up to Xmas".
  15. ^ "Global Airline Guide 2017 (Part Two)". Airliner World (November 2017): 31.
  16. ^ "Solomon Airlines Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Profile on Solomon Airlines". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  18. ^ "Aviation Safety Network".