|Photo by Freeimages.com/Juan Santiago|
Solomon Airlines has shut down all operations, grounding all international and domestic flights, Radio New Zealand reports.
The Solomon Islands ministry of aviation told Radio New Zealand it hopes it can come to an agreement with the airline regarding the shutdown, which came about as a result of financial commitments made by the government. Under a 2008 agreement, the government said it would match dollar for dollar the airline’s $6.7 million expansion plan.
“We believe the government owes us somewhere between $15 million and $18 million at the moment,” Gus Kraus, Solomon Airlines’ manager of commercial services, told Radio New Zealand. The lack of payment has led to the airline being unable to pay for maintenance on its newest and fastest aircraft, the Dash 8, which is currently in Australia, putting strain on the airline’s domestic pilots by forcing them to make longer and more frequent flights.