24 Jun 2004

Solomon Airlines to restart NZ service

4:31 pm on 24 June 2004

The head of Solomon Airlines, government minister Michael Maina, says the airline will launch new services to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia from July.

Mr Maina says the airline has experienced a major turnaround in recent months, with domestic aircraft being refurbished and a plane being repaired that had been out of service for 24 months.

He says an extra flight to Brisbane and a service to Auckland via Port Vila

will be launched.

Mr Maina says there is now more demand for travel to and from the Solomons because the law and order situation has improved.

He says a Solomons Airline has not flown to New Zealand for nearly ten years.

"We've done it in the early 90's and then stopped but reactivated that. We stopped to New Zealand and from New Zealand to Solomons that's the reason why we decided to do that."

Mr Maina says a service to Port Moresby will also start using a leased Air Niugini Dash 8.

He says the plans are subject to final approval from civil aviation authorities.