13 Nov 2006

New Brisbane-Honiara-Santo air link a positive step for Melanesia

5:11 pm on 13 November 2006

The Solomon Islands Finance Minister says the new air service linking Brisbane with Honiara and Santo in Vanuatu is an example of increasing co-operation between Melanesian countries.

Gordon Darcy Lilo has just returned from Santo where a ceremony at Pekoa airport on Saturday marked the inaugural flight of the new Solomon Airlines service which will fly four times a week.

He says the new service means that more tourists coming to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and more business and recreational travel opportunities for locals in the neighbouring Melanesian countries.

Mr Lilo says the service was made possible by the Melanesian Spearhead Group and reflects new progress in putting such co-operative ventures in place.

"This is a classic example of years of hard work in trying to foster sub-regional co-operation between melanesian countries. And we know that there's a lot that we could benefit from being part of one co-operation and this is a fine example of that kind of co-operation working."

Gordon Darcy Lilo