BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SOLOMON Airlines CEO Mr Brett Gebers has chided media for what he claims as unfair representation of the airline.
In an email correspondence with Island Sun relating to yesterday’s article on the dangerous landing at Taro airport, Gebers puts it that media have been ‘generally misrepresenting the facts and tries to make a sensational story out of nothing’.
He instead says Solomon Airlines “deserves some credit for all the effort we put into making people’s lives easier.
“We get zero credit for all the charitable work that we do, all the tickets that we give to fund raising activities, the tickets we give to Solomon Islanders who travel to represent their country or all the extra flights that we add to help travellers.
“For instance today [last Saturday] we added extra flights to Auki because no boat went Auki on Monday and people were stranded.
“Why would I fly around our network as a passenger if I did not believe in the crew we have employed and thought we were not operating safely. I have been flying for over 46 years.”
Island Sun has been reporting on incidents involving airlines personnel and aircraft, which in contrast to what Gebers thinks, is ‘news’ for the general public and especially travellers of Solomon Airlines.
Three such incidents involved Solomon Airlines check & trainer captain Mr Ray McLellan. The first was the ‘smoking incident’ in which Captain McLellan was photographed by public in Tigoa airport in Rennell smoking in the pilot cockpit, something which has never been seen before. This incident sparked public debate on the precedence McLellan’s action has set.
Island Sun reported on a second incident in which McLellan was training a new pilot at the Honiara airport. During the training, one of the tyres burst upon landing.
Gebers, in his email over the weekend, explains, “Your newspaper recently published a story about a blown tyre which was incorrect and was simply trying to make something out of nothing.
“The incident happened with a new Solomon Islander pilot whom we had just employed. The pilot was undergoing training and landed with a foot on the brakes leading to the blown tyre.”
While this incident is regarded as news for public and travelling passengers, CEO Gebers has labelled it as ‘nothing’.
Yesterday, Island Sun reported on an incident in which travelling passengers were put through a terrifying time when their plane skid upon landing all the way to the end of the runway where the plane made a 180 degree turn. This incident took place at Taro airport.
Our source, a passenger in that flight, shared his horrifying experience and Island Sun sought comments from the airlines. CEO Gebers, in his reply explained that the incident had been due to ‘the combination of a mechanical fault and a very wet and slippery runway’.