By EDDIE OSIFELO
SOLOMON Airlines Limited has sold its old Airbus aircraft for $20 million (USD$2.5 million) to an American buyer on 10th March 2020.
Initially, the aircraft costs around $40 million (USD$5 million).
Chief Executive Officer, Brett Gebers revealed this to the media through a zoom interview from Australia on Tuesday.
He said the reason for the sale was because of the damage to the engines and the Board saw what was going to happen with COVID-19.
“We signed all the paper works and aircraft was transferred to the new owner on 10th March.
“On 11 March, USA closed its borders to international travels. And the moment that happens, all the old airplanes in the world were grounded.
“The moment they were grounded, there was no more demands for the old engines or the old parts,” he said.
Gebers said the result of that was they lost USD$2.5 million on the sale of the aircraft.
“However, we managed to walk away from the problem that we would have to manage for a long time to come.
“I saw the new purchaser a couple of months ago and he told me that to date they managed to sell USD$500,000 worth of parts and they are stalled with USD$2.5 million for the engines that they cannot sell,” he said.
Gebers said and they are hoping in due course the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end eventually get their money back.
He said the loss of USD$2.5 million was reflected in 2019 accounts.
Prior to the sale, Gebers said they reached an agreement with an organisation in England to buy the aircraft but they wanted it immediately, and this was towards the end of 2019
“We could not find any aircraft that were available to cover our services between Brisbane and Honiara and Fiji etc.
“So, we elected to keep the aircraft and to take another offer for the aircraft on a lower prize,” he said.