CAASI is pleased to inform you of the regulatory initiatives we have put in place to addressing the challenges those in aviation are currently facing. We have ensured our approach is finely balanced, with a focus on providing relief at the same time as ensuring safety risks are effectively managed in these rapidly changing times.
A major contract agreement between the Solomon Islands Government and Kitano Construction Corporation (KITANO) of Japan was signed in Tokyo on Friday 16th November 2019 to begin construction work on the Project for the Improvement of Honiara Airport.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) Moses Virivolomo signed the agreement with KITANO officials in the presence of the Consortium of Gyros Corporation, Ehira Architects & Engineers, Inc. and Oriental Consultants Global Co., Ltd all of Japan (Consultants) and MCA Airport Civil Engineer Raziv Hilly.
The signing was made possible after the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) approved recommendations to award the contract to KITANO after successful contract negotiations in Tokyo last week.
The Honiara Airport has been experiencing increased flights, visitor arrivals and tonnage of overseas cargo but such increase has come with a cost due to congestion and poses safety to airport users and aircrafts due to limited capacity of airport facilities at our busiest international airport.
This project aims to reduce aircraft turn around, provide passenger comfort and improve safety by construction of a new departure terminal, a new taxiway, repairs to existing taxiway, repairs to existing apron and expansion of apron to the west, refurbishment of existing international terminal two-thirds to be used for domestic operations, installation of dykes for flood control, install new generators and install lights as major components of the scope of the project at a cost of approx. USD 33.8 million (JPY 3,681,000,000).
Mr. Virivolomo and his 2-man delegation were beaming with pride to having successfully negotiated and concluded the contract with KITANO with assistance from Consultants and approval of JICA from 11-16 November in Tokyo.
“This project when completed by June 2022 will allow MCA and later the new State Owned Enterprise-Solomon Islands Airports Corporation Limited (SIACL) to safely and effectively manage the increased activity at the Honiara International Airport by improved aircraft turnaround, reduced time delays and cost of trade, and promote Honiara Airport as an efficient airport in our part of the world,” said Mr. Virivolomo.
This is a government priority project and well supported by the current DCGA and will be a catalyst for tourism development and will allow Honiara Airport to become a competitive airport in the region based on our location. The project will be delivered well ahead of the South Pacific Games in 2023 and with the improvements, Solomon Islands should manage the increased arrivals/departures during the games.
Mr. Virivolomo said the increasing assistance by Japan in the Transport Sector through JICA is a very clear sign of the strength of partnership between the two countries.
He thanked the government and people of Japan for the grant assistance and thanked the Airport Taskforce for working tirelessly to meet the government obligations and paved the way for JICA to procure the project.
The contractor KITANO is expected in Honiara in December 2019 and a ground-breaking ceremony is expected in early 2020 in Honiara.
The departure of the Solomon Airlines AIRBUS 320 flight IE715 from Brisbane International Airport around 9.30am on 30th March 2019 bound for Munda International Airport has marked the start of commercial services to Solomon Islands second international gateway. This followed a successful proving or test flight conducted by Solomon Airlines with the AIRBUS 320 aircraft on 23rd March 2019.
Civil Aviation Authority of Solomon Islands has suspended the operation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to or from Solomon Islands following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on Sunday 10th March 2019.
CAASI’s decision follows similar moves from global regulators including that of Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand, whom have held discussions with other aviation authorities, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who has responsibility for oversight of the design of the aircraft. The CAASI’s assessment has taken into consideration the level of uncertainty regarding the cause of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident plus its review of the aircraft design.
Currently, only Fiji Airways has this aircraft type on its Foreign AOC but there is very low utilization on this type for its flights into and out of Solomon Islands. There are no other airlines that fly this aircraft type to Solomon Islands. CAASI has thoroughly review concerns about the B737 MAX series aircraft following the tragic accidents involving the type in Indonesian and Ethiopia.
Whilst this is a temporary suspension, CAASI will continue to closely monitor the situation, review and analyze information regarding the safety risks of continued operation of the Boeing 737 MAX to and from Solomon Islands.
CAASI regrets any inconvenience to passengers on Fiji Airways flights into and out of Solomon Islands but believes it is crucial to take this immediate action until more information is available on the cause of the two B737 MAX accidents.
Director of Civil Aviation (Acting)
Dated: 15th March 2019
Suavanao Airfield in Isabel Province was re-opened last Saturday following the successful rehabilitation of the airport’s deteriorating runway which has forced the Government to close it in September this year.