Solomon Airlines

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Solomon Airlines
IATA
IE
ICAO
SOL
Callsign
SOLOMON
Founded 1962
Hubs Honiara International Airport
Fleet size 7
Destinations 27
Company slogan Discover somewhere completely different
Headquarters Honiara, Solomon Islands
Key people Ron Sumsum (CEO)
Website http://www.flysolomons.com/

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

History[edit]

Solomon Airlines was established in 1962 as a charter airline by Laurie Crowley. Crowley had been flying around Papua New Guinea when he started to fly charter flights on a single Piper Aztec plane to the Solomons. Since no commercial aircraft was based at the Solomon Islands, Crowley decided to start an airline and called it Megapode Airlines.

After Macair of Papua New Guinea decided to buy off Megapode in 1968, they decided to change the airline's name to Solomon Islands Airways, although most of the public knew the airline by the acronym of SOLAIR. Macair had bought Megapode it had become a regular flights one. Under Macair, SOLAIR became the smallest international airline in the world, serving the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, with a total of two Doves and two Beech Barons.

In 1975, Macair and SOLAIR were bought off by Talair, and in 1976, the airline received two Beech Queen Air 80 airplanes, and the Solomon Islands Government bought 49 percent of the airline's shares and establishing the right to buy the remaining 51 percent by the next five years.

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

In 1984 the Government decided it wanted to buy all of the airline's shares, and two Twin Otters and one Bandeirante plane 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 tour company Hunts of the Pacific, were completed.

The new ownership was met with skepticism and distrust by airline workers, and many of them would leave their jobs soon, including some on the managerial level. Then, the Government was faced with the task of rebuilding the airline, and it started doing so by investing 2 million dollars to buy two -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 their own turbo-props. In 1999, after civil war broke out in the Solomons, United Nations imposed sanctions severely damaged the airline's international routes, and at one point, the airline was allowed to have only one such route, the one they decided to keep flying being the flight to Brisbane.

Today Solomon Airlines has apparently battled off the consequences of the Civil War, and it still flies, mainly nearby their area of the Pacific Ocean.

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 they trial this service, one of their Twin Otter aircraft is 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 and obtained its own Air Operators Certificate.

Destinations[edit]

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

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

Livery[edit]

The Solomons original livery consisted of an overall white fuselage, with a cheatline extending up onto the vertical fin in colors 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[edit]

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

As of January 2011 the Solomon Airlines fleet includes:

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Incidents[edit]

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.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]