23 Nov 2012

Smaller airlines in Pacific feel shut out by big players

2:40 pm on 23 November 2012

The head of Solomon Islands' national carrier says the region's bigger airlines are making it difficult for smaller companies to enter new territory.

Solomon Airlines recently entered into a new agreement with Air Vanuatu, where it will codeshare on its flights from Honiara to Port Vila and onto Nadi.

The airline's manager, Gus Kraus, says the new relationship is partly a result of Fiji's Air Pacific recently ending its codeshare agreement with Air Vanuatu.

He says for three years they've been in negotiations with Papua New Guinea's Air Niugini for a codeshare on a Honiara to Port Moresby service, but haven't got anywhere.

"We've been trying to push Air Niugini to apply to their regulators to allow us to take on 15 to 20 seats per flight of their twice a week flight, we can't even get that across the line. Yet they've got 104 seats on each flight that departs Moresby to Honiara and back."

Gus Kraus says Air Pacific and Air Niugini have got their own priorities.