By EDDIE OSIFELO
SOLOMON Airlines still needs government support and good strategy to achieve a sustainable future.
Newly appointed Chairman, Frank Wickham told the media in a press conference yesterday that he is strongly confident of a sustainable future given:
- strong government support;
- strong management reviews of our current situations and
- coming up with a strategy that will maximise our revenues and make us a nimbler organisation by way of cost efficiency.
“We have a major consultancy report that the government has commissioned and has just presented and we will be using the findings of the report to fine tune our strategy going forward and also our operations.
“Going forward also, we like to see a more robust strategic and cooperate plan, capacity development for our Solomon Islanders in all aspect of operations, restructuring when necessary and to also maximise potential partnerships with other airlines in the region,” he said.
Wickham said the Government as the biggest shareholder has given $5 million as grant under the Economic Stimulus Package and a Concessional loan of $53 million.
He said the loan is for the purchase of a new twin Outer and additional relieve funds to support the airlines cash flow.
Furthermore, Wickham said over the past years up until 2019, the international route has been more profitable than the domestic route contrary to what is made public by various sources.
He said the passenger’s numbers domestically are greater but international route is more profitable and they hope once the dark clouds are over should return to some semblance of normalcy with better international passengers’ numbers.
Wickham said they are revisiting the domestic fare structure to see how we can make the fare work better for the Airlines.
He said there are some routes that are profitable and most are loss making routes.
“And this is also the area that we hope the nation and shareholders will appreciate that we are subsidizing many routes in this country.
“Even some routes that have airports that with run ways that create a lot of expenses for our airlines because they are poorly maintained and create the high maintenance and repair costs for our planes,” he said.
“So, with that back drop, we like to see that there is appreciation from Solomon Islanders and we know that Government recognises it and hence continues to support us through this difficult time,” he added.