Parasi airfield, which has been closed for the past 7 years, is now ready to take-scheduled flights starting on 8th June.

This was made possible after the government signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between three disputing parties whom claimed ownership of the airport land in September 2017.

The Airport Taskforce, led by the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) worked behind the scenes to get the parties to agree to re-open the airport.

MCA engaged a contractor late last year to clear vegetation and obstructions as well as to work on drainage around the airport vicinity.

The integrity of the airport’s pavement was also restored in March 2018.

On Saturday 31st March the Civil Aviation Authority of Solomon Islands (CAASI), MCA and Solomon Airlines conducted a test flight with a Twin Otter aircraft and made a successful landing on the airport.

The aviation authority and operator remarked at the time that some work still had to be carried out around the airport but they were satisfied with the condition of the airport adding that it was overall ready for commercial operations.

Chairman of the Aviation Task Force, Mr. Moses Virivolomo who is also the Permanent Secretary of the MCA took part in the test flight and was elated to see Solomon Airlines returning to serve residents of Small Malaita as well as East and West AreÁre who have experienced hardships in having to travel by sea when the airport was closed more than 7 years ago.

The Permanent Secretary acknowledged the continuous support from the leaders of the disputing parties and for their understanding in agreeing to re-open the airfield while waiting for the resolution of their land disputes by the responsible authorities.

Mr Virivolomo added that the re-opening of the airfield is a step in the right direction towards facilitating whatever development aspirations there are, not only for Small Malaita, but also the Malaita Province and Solomon Islands generally.

Mr. Virivolomo thanked the tireless efforts put in by the Aviation Task Force in negotiating the re-opening of the airfield and called upon the stakeholders/landowners and/or disputing parties at Manaoba airfield and Lomlom airfield to follow the examples set by the disputing parties of the Gwaunaruu airfield and, now, the Parasi airfield, to allow the opening of these airfields. Mr Virivolomo assured the people of Parasi that Solomon Airlines would commence fights as soon as their processes are completed around the middle of this year 2018

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