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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Skyairworld Plans daily flight Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane to boost tourism

SKYAIRWORLD plans to launch daily Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane flights in a boost for tourism and added competition for national carrier Solomon Airlines.

Brisbane-based SkyAirWorld is also introducing Solomon Islander cabin crew on its flights as the airline wars heat up. Chief executive David Charlton said: “We will shortly be announcing a revised timetable with daily services to Honiara – which will make SkyAirWorld the only airline offering departures direct to Brisbane seven days a week."

“Our weekend services are performing very well and schedules are constantly under review.” SkyAirWorld switched to evening flights Fridays and Sundays. This included tapping into the market of people wanting to spend weekends in Australia or Honiara.

The daily service is expected to start once newly recruited cabin crew complete training. “Our locally-recruited Solomon Islands cabin crew are … expected to be flying in the coming weeks,” Mr Charlton said. “We also plan to recruit additional Solomon Islands staff in a few months.”

SkyAirWorld has been operating five flights a week Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane using a 76-passenger Embraer 170 jet. It also has a 94-passenger Embraer 190 which it has used on some Honiara flights.

Solomon Airlines flies Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane four times a week using bigger Boeing 737 planes. It earlier reintroduced Solomon Islander cabin crew.

If Nauru’s Our Airline maintains its twice-weekly services it will mean three airlines and 13 Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane flights a week. That makes this the competitive route in the islands.

Mr Charlton’s disclosure of planned daily flights comes after two other announcements. These, the airline said, underscore its long-term commitment to the Solomon Islands and boosting tourism here.

NUMBER ONE: SkyAirWorld has applied for a certificate to operate domestic services.
Mr Charlton confirmed this is now much more than the earlier plans for services on to Munda from Honiara using the E170 jet.

It would involve SkyAirWorld having its own turboprop planes here and flying from Honiara to such possible destinations as Gizo, Munda, Seghe, and Auki.

“Subject to approvals and aircraft availability, we plan to commence operations in the second half of 2008,” he said.

NUMBER TWO: Mr Charlton said SkyAirWorld now seeks to develop one or more 50 to 100-room resorts.

“We have an active dialogue with a number of parties, including the government, to secure land for this purpose. Once access to land is confirmed, further plans will be announced,” he said.

“The creation of large-scale tourism infrastructure will mean the creation of potentially hundreds of local jobs, community involvement as well as access to hospitality training.”

Source: Solomonstar

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