The Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau (SIVB) has thrown its full support behind the decision by Solomon Airlines, Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu to combine resources to jointly develop and promote aviation services between Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
Speaking from the SIVB’s Honiara head office, CEO Josefa ‘Jo’ Tuamoto said the in principle agreement signed last week in the Solomon Islands capital represents what he described as “massive potential” for intra-Melanesia travel as well as providing seamless access to the region for literally millions of international visitors.
“While all three airlines operate into a number of Australian cities, the opportunity this agreement holds for the region is further exacerbated when you take into account Air Niugini services into several key Asian destinations and Air Vanuatu services into New Zealand,” Mr Tuamoto said.
“Not only is this a great outcome for all three airlines, it is also a fantastic result for all three countries’ tourism aspirations and a wonderful example of true Melanesian brotherhood hard at work.”
Expected to commence in June 2015, the proposed code share agreement will see Air Vanuatu and Solomon Airlines utilising an Air Niugini Fokker 100 aircraft on the Port Moresby/Honiara/Port Villa route.
The code share is expected to form the basis for further corporation and other similar arrangements promoting aviation and tourism collaboration among the nations comprising the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
These include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front of New Caledonia.