30th November 2010
The Board of Solomon Airlines Ltd today announced approval of a proposal to dry lease an Airbus A320-212 aircraft for its international and regional operations.
The new lease has been arranged through a major capital management consortium and will be effective from the end of the current ACMI lease with Strategic between 24th February 2011 and 27th March 2011. This will also correspond with the normal change of schedules for the Northern Summer period as is the case with all International Airlines.
The new arrangement gives Solomon Airlines far greater control over its future destiny including use of “Solomons” livery but more importantly allows the airline to comply with recent amendments to IATA membership qualifications.
The move also coincides with the significant progress being made within the airline following Governments approval to implement the initial restructure plan put forward by the Board in December 2008 and thereby has placed the airline in a far better financial position to take up the dry lease option.
The cabin will be exclusively manned by Solomon Airlines personnel who have already been trained on this aircraft type by Strategic Airlines. Similarly attention is being given to the important customer service areas both in-flight and throughout the operation as a whole.
Solomon Airlines currently operates three services per week out of Brisbane moving to a fourth service from next Sunday (5th December 2010). The move has been taken to meet the projected increase in passenger numbers. Under the existing lease arrangements with Strategic, the airline would have to meet significantly higher additional service costs to cover the extra flight whereas operational costs reduce proportionately the more the airline utilises its own aircraft.
Seating arrangements for the new aircraft differ in providing for 20 business class seats, as opposed to 12 on the Strategic aircraft and provides cabin cupboard space forward of business class compartment. The number of economy seats reduces from 144 to 120 to give greater leg room in this class. In-flight entertainment including movies, music and destination service information will also be available on the new service in addition to the high standard in-flight catering service.