Gus Kraus, the CEO of Solomon Airlines, and Joseph Laloyer, the newly appointed CEO of Air Vanuatu, met last weekend in Port Vila to discuss ways to strengthen their ties to the Melanesian region and work together more.

Gus Kraus, the CEO of Solomon Airlines, and Joseph Laloyer, the newly appointed CEO of Air Vanuatu
Gus Kraus, the CEO of Solomon Airlines, and Joseph Laloyer, the newly appointed CEO of Air Vanuatu. | © Solomon Times

Gus Kraus, CEO of Solomon Airlines, said;

“Joseph is not new to the post of CEO for Air Vanuatu and whilst he has only just returned to that office, we had very useful discussions. It was also a great pleasure to meet in person again, with a dear friend and stalwart in the airline industry.

Solomon Airlines and Air Vanuatu are neighbour national carriers, with similar responsibilities, aspirations, fleet size and workforces. It makes sense for us to work together.

This is our first round of discussions, and we will meet again in the near future to map out our longer-term joint aims and to progress to a planned MOU.”

The Melanesian Region and Work

For this discussion, we might refer to Melanesia as a whole, which would include all of the members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, including West Papua and East Timor (as observers), Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (a member in association), and the political party in New Caledonia. Reviving civil-military cooperation with the Melanesia subregion would improve these relations.

Melanesian Region
Melanesia Region | © WCS.Org

Recent international headlines have focused on Melanesia’s numerous nations. It is abundantly clear that this region is of paramount significance, as evidenced by China leasing the Solomon Islands territory of Tulagi and the much-discussed vote for independence in Bougainville.

Subject to CAAV clearance, Solomon Airlines would, in the interim, offer backup pilots for the airline’s domestic fleet, according to Joseph Laloyer, CEO of Air Vanuatu.

Solomon Airlines Pilots
Solomon Airline Pilots | © Solomon Airlines

Mr Laloyer, CEO of Air Vanuatu, said

“In terms of immediate assistance, Solomon Airlines has agreed to help tide us over as we seek to employ pilots to fly our Twin Otter aircraft.

The shortage of pilots is an urgent priority for us, as it is affecting our domestic services. We thank Solomon Airlines and look forward to that assistance which is planned by the end of this month.”

Mr Kraus and Mr Laloyer wholeheartedly agreed with the Association of South Pacific Airlines’ (ASPA) assertion that cooperation among regional airlines is crucial for regional economic growth and meeting future industry problems. The airline’s executives also paid respect to ASPA Secretary General George Faktaufon.

“As George prepares for his retirement, we wish him well and thank him sincerely for his leadership, and significant contribution to aviation development in the Pacific region, for over 30 years.”

 

What do you think of Solomon Airlines and Air Vanuatu’s closer connections? Let us know in the comments below!

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