Bellona welcomes return of double flights weekly

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BY NED GAGAHE

People on Bellona have welcomed Solomon Airlines resuming its weekly double flights to the island.

With no ship servicing the Rennell & Bellona province for three months, people on the two-island province are heavily dependent on SolAir’s weekly service.

Bellona, with fewer retail canteens, is reportedly faring worse than its bigger neighbour, Rennell.

For Bellona, the usual flight schedule includes two flights per week, Mondays and Thursdays.

However, when Monday flights were temporarily cancelled starting October 3, within just two weeks, people on Bellona were feeling the brunt of having just a single flight per week.

People took to social media to voice their plea, many mentioning that the SolAir flights was the only means of transport to bring food and other necessities to Bellona from Honiara.

“Life is made harder by cancellation of Monday flights,” one says on facebook.

After two weeks, the weekly double flights resumed yesterday, with the usual Monday schedule to return next week, October 24.

Speaking to Island Sun from Bellona yesterday, teacher Mr Daley Tingiia says, “People on Bellona are relieved that the Monday flights have returned.

“The last two weeks have been quite unsettling and hard because we did not know why the Monday service stopped, and the rate of incoming food supply from Honiara could not keep up with the demand here.

“Luckily, an extra flight carrying cargoes came unexpectedly on Wednesday last week.

“Another thing, betel nut chewers and smokers were observed to be hit hard as well.”

Explaining the two-week gap to Island Sun, Solomon Airlines said:

“Solomon Airlines is resuming services this coming week to Bellona however there has been a slight schedule adjustment to accommodate the Dash-8 returning on Monday.

“So, for the coming week, there will be 2 x Bellona services, operating on Tuesday and Thursday. Then the Monday and Thursday regular services will resume again from the following week from October 24.

“The reduction in service is only temporary from October 3-13 as we welcome back the Dash-8 into service.

“Once our Dash-8 returns to service, effective from Monday, October 17, the route will return to two services a week operating between Honiara and Bellona, as follows:

“Mondays IE320 departs Honiara 0700 arrives Bellona 0755, departs Bellona 0810 and arrives Rennell 0830, IE321 then departs Rennell 0845 arriving in Honiara 0945

“Thursdays IE322 departs Honiara 0700 arriving in Rennell 0800, then IE323 departs Rennell 0815 arriving in Bellona 0835, departing Bellona 0850 and arriving back in Honiara 0945

“During the period of October 3-13, we have added Bellona to our Rennell service on Wednesday, October 12, in addition to our usual Thursday service, until the Monday service returns on October 17, we appreciate that seats are limited during this time, however it is only temporary whilst we go through the process of reinduction of the Dash-8 into service.”


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