13 Nov 2006

Inaugural Solomons Airlines flight links Honiara, Australia and Vanuatu

11:10 am on 13 November 2006

The Solomons Minister of Finance, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has spoken of increasing cooperation being crucial to regional economic development.

He made his comments at a ceremony marking the inaugural Solomon Airlines flight from Brisbane to Honiara and Santos, Vanuatu.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation quotes the minister as saying the service increases seats to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu by 50 percent.

Mr Lilo says the new service means that more tourists will visit Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

He says extra flights also means more opportunities for local businesses to trade with neighbours and more opportunities for Solomon Islanders to travel for education and holidays.

The Minister, who was made a chief by the people of Sanma province in Vanuatu to mark the occasion, says that the establishment of this new service was made possible by the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

This is a great honour in Vanuatu society where chiefs rank above government in societal standing.