Strategic Airlines will cease operating flights for Solomon Airlines from March, with the Solomon Islands airline instead announcing plans to operate its own dry leased Airbus A320
“The new lease has been arranged through a major capital management consortium and will be effective from the end of the current ACMI lease with Strategic between 24th February 2011 and 27th March 2011,” the airline says in a statement. “The new arrangement gives Solomon Airlines far greater control over its future destiny including use of ‘Solomons’ livery, but more importantly allows the airline to comply with recent amendments to IATA membership qualifications.”
Strategic has dedicated a single two class 166-seat Airbus A320 to its Solomon Airlines ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance) lease contract, which it began operating in August 2009. It began operating a fourth weekly Brisbane-Honiara service on December 5.
“The move has been taken to meet the projected increase in passenger numbers,” the airline’s statement continues. “Under the existing lease arrangements with Strategic, the airline would have to meet significantly higher additional service costs to cover the extra flight whereas operational costs reduce proportionately the more the airline utilises its own aircraft.”
“In September 2010 Strategic Airlines decided it would not continue operating on behalf of Solomon Airlines between Brisbane and Honiara, due to the need to have the aircraft available for its growing commercial route network,” a spokesman for the Strategic Airlines confirmed.
“Whilst the relationship between our two companies continues to be strong, at this stage Strategic Airlines will no longer operate this service beyond March 2011.”
Solomon Airlines’ new A320-212 will be configured with 20 business and 120 economy class seats. As it does now with the Strategic aircraft, Solomon Airlines will provide its own cabin crew for the new operation.