18 Dec 2013

Solomons airport closures affect credibility says airline

3:11 pm on 18 December 2013

Solomon Islands' national airline says airport closures over land disputes are damaging the country's credibility.

The comment follows landowners' closure of the airport near the Malaita provincial capital Auki over a breach of their agreement with the aviation ministry.

Solomon Airlines' operations and commercial general manager says landowner issues are also behind the closure of Lata's airport in Temotu province and the recent brief closure of the airport on Bellona.

Gus Kraus says the consequences of such closures go well beyond the financial impact on the airline and incovenience to passengers.

"These things certainly don't do any good for the credibility of the country because every time it's a high season or peak season we get landowner threats obviously for the reasons of the fact that they've got more bargaining power throughout the heavy season. So it's not really good."

Gus Kraus says the sooner the government is able to acquire all airport land the better.