22 Sep 2014

Airline dispute 'payback' for PIF vote: Tozaka

3:42 pm on 22 September 2014

The former Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia says the dispute between Fiji Airways and Solomon Airlines is payback for Solomon Islands not supporting Fiji's candidate for Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Milner Tozaka made the claim as he encouraged the Solomon Islands government to apologise in a bid to solve the stand-off.

The strained relations between both countries' aviation authorities started in July, over a denial of a request by Fiji Airways for Solomon Airlines to receive an extra Saturday flight.

Both authorities have since cancelled all international flights between Honiara and Nadi, causing disruption to travellers between the countries and also Vanuatu.

The Lilo Government had nominated Dr Jimmy Rogers to contest the post of Secretary General at the leaders' summit in Palau, challenging the nominations of Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

The PNG candiate, Dame Meg Taylor, won the vote.