Solomon Airlines passenger numbers reach pre-pandemic levels

A Solomon Airlines A320 approaching to land.
Robert Frola (GFDL) via Wikimedia Commons

Mr Frank Wickham, Chairman of Solomon Airlines confirmed today that the airline has reached a positive milestone as passenger levels surpass pre-COVID19 levels. The news has been posted just as the national carrier prepares to receive its second Airbus A320 aircraft next week.

The Chairman stated that the national carrier is in a capable position to move forward with its growth plans, as he updated the members of the SICCI and the media when asked about the direction of the airline. 

Solomon Airlines CEO Mr. Gus Kraus commented on the positive growth trajectory: “At the outset, I wish to acknowledge and thank the and his Executive Team and staff for the strong teamwork and progress they have made over the past months. Their work has positioned the airline strongly to go forward,” he said.

A steady increase in passenger traffic 

The flag carrier of the Solomon Islands has reported an increase in the number of passengers for both domestic and overseas operations. The month of June witnessed passenger numbers surpassing June 2019 – higher than pre-pandemic numbers. 

As the number of passengers starts to rise above expectation, so as the airline’s revenue. The Chairman confirmed that the airline is extensively reviewing the domestic routes. 


He stated that: “Overall, earnings from passenger revenue are pleasing and further supplemented by the recent routes established in partnership with Air Vanuatu.”

He furthered: “The new code-shared Honiara-Vila-Auckland return flight and the Brisbane-Santo flights are quickly seeing an increase in passenger numbers. We have also leased our third Twin Otter aircraft to Air Vanuatu to assist recovery of their domestic operations.”

“I am also delighted to say that we have made very good progress with our aim to employ Solomon Islanders with a number of locals now appointed to senior and technical positions at the airline.”

Recent airline appointments

As the airline grows continuously, the airline has made significant appointments to important positions. This includes Mr. Daniel Bugotu to the position of Safety Manager, Ms Malina Ilala to the position of Chief Finance Officer, Ms. Aketa Nanauasi appointed to Manager of Quality Assurance, and Mr. Lister Hopa to the Manager of Continuing Airworthiness. 

The company’s Chairman commented on the CEO’s local appointments: “We are very pleased to confirm that our pilot workforce now includes four Solomon Islanders. We acknowledged and thank the CEO Gus Kraus for leading this aim and progressing these appointments” 

Mr Wickham commented on the appointment of the pilots: : “Mr. Daniel Leong has completed his training to become a First Officer on the international Airbus A320 aircraft type. “

“We have two new Captains on our Dash 8 aircraft including Captain Linda Owen and Captain Jerry Tumuri, and Capt Aumanu is a First Officer on the Dash 8. We are also pleased to say other pilots are being identified for further development.”

Second Airbus A320 

The Chairman also stated that the airline also plans to lease a second workhorse: the narrowbody Airbus A320. The airline also appoints Mr. Sean Teo to manage the entry of the aircraft into service. 

Mr. Wickham furthered: “Our second international aircraft is a very significant commitment based on our confidence in the future and as we prepare to fly many thousands of athletes, officials, and spectators to Solomon Islands for the Pacific Games.” 

Bottom line 

The airline is on a positive trajectory, and hence the induction of a second Airbus A320. Like many airlines in the Pacific Islands, Solomon Airlines heavily relies on the Australian market playing a crucial role in determining passenger levels.

The Chairman is also making progress in making the airline inclusive to the community, as seen by the appointments of local individuals to important positions. 

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By Indy Udol 5 Min Read
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