Solomon Airlines has announced it is temporarily suspending its weekly Honiara-Sydney flights from May 17.
The airline has in fact not operated the route since February 19 due to its only Airbus A320 aircraft undergoing maintenance in Singapore, which has “taken longer than expected”.
The A320, which has also been undergoing a cabin refresh, was due to re-enter service in the third week of April, with Sydney-Honiara services originally due to resume on April 25.
“This decision has not been taken lightly,” general manager operations and commercial, Gus Kraus, said in a statement on Friday.
“But I do need to stress this is a temporary measure and we are intending to re-enter the market at a later date once we see that market conditions are on the improve.”
The airline cited economic conditions in Australia and the Solomon Islands as a “leading factor” in the decision to suspend Sydney flights, which the airline only restarted last June after a 14 year absence.
But said Kraus: “In the interim period we already have plans in place to re-introduce the Sydney service based on seasonal demand.”
The airline has been using a wet-leased Qantas Boeing 737-800 to operate its Honiara-Brisbane and Honiara-Nadi services while the A320 has been out of service.
Solomon Airlines’ only Dash 8 turboprop is also currently out of service. The Dash 8 is still in Cairns where it has been undergoing maintenance with Hawker Pacific. It arrived there on March 1 and was originally due to return to service on March 31.
On April 21 the airline announced the Dash 8’s return to service had been delayed “due to the untimely arrival of maintenance parts”. Solomon Airlines has been using its Twin Otters to cover the Dash 8’s absence from its domestic network.