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Old 29th April 2022, 02:41 PM
Greg Hyde Greg Hyde is online now
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Default We Live in Interesting Times - Solomon Is

Leaked documents reveal Chinese company's aviation plans for Solomon Islands to become a 'regional hub'

One of China's largest defence and aerospace companies promised to upgrade almost three dozen airstrips in Solomon Islands as part of an ambitious plan to transform the Pacific Islands country into an "aeronautical hub" for the region.

The proposed exchange was laid out two-and-a-half years ago in a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which has been obtained by the ABC.
The document was signed by Solomon Islands Minister for Communication and Aviation Peter Shanel Agovaka at Yanliang, near Xi'an in central China, in November 2019, only a few months after the Pacific Island country switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taiwan.

Chinese state media reported that the minister also delivered an address at a major aviation conference which AVIC hosted in Yanliang, hailing cooperation with the company as an "opportunity and way forward" for Solomon Islands.
However, it does not appear that either AVIC or the Solomon Islands government pushed ahead with any of the initiatives in the MOU after signing it.
Solomon Airlines CEO unaware of deal

Solomon Airlines currently operates only one international aircraft an Airbus A320 and has not moved to buy any new planes from the Chinese firm.

It runs three smaller Twin Otter and one Dash 8 aircraft for domestic routes.
When the ABC contacted the CEO of Solomon Airlines, Brett Gebers, he said he was unaware of the agreement.

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