COVID-19 Keeps Air Carriers Grounded – the Government of Solomon Islands contracts IOS Partners to provide strategic options for the Solomon Airlines going forward


Solomon Airlines (SolAir) is Solomon Islands national flag carrier, providing air services throughout the Solomon Islands and internationally. SolAir faces an unprecedented international crisis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID19) that has brought worldwide air travel to a virtual halt. With the closure of borders, mandatory quarantines driving down passenger demand, and travel policy volatility across many countries, COVID19 has effectively grounded SolAir’s international operations. SolAir’s domestic operations have also been severely reduced. Considering the current scenario, the main objective of this project is to prepare a Strategic Options Report to guide Solomon Islands’ Government’s consideration of how it may choose to manage the impacts of COVID-19 in the short and medium term on SI’s aviation and tourism sectors. The main project activities are:

  • Develop an understanding of the new Post COVID-19 tourism market conditions and the changes to the product delivery/visitor expectations;
  • Identify and analyze the most appropriate tourism products/services and resource assets to develop and support the new tourism segments;
  • Considering the impact of COVID-19, update Solomon Islands air traffic data and prepare demand forecasts under different assumed scenarios for the pandemic and eventual recovery of aviation and tourism markets;
  • Identify capacity building requirements. Once the products have been defined, the consultant shall ascertain if each one has the adequately trained management and staff to respond to the International market conditions;
  • Provide a summary of Solomon Airlines’ current financial position and expected impact of COVID-19 over the short and medium-term under different scenarios;
  • Review Solomon Airlines’ Statement of Corporate Objectives 2020-2022 (SOCO), which incorporates the Company Business Plan 2020-2022, and related activities/commitments and analyze the financial and other implications for Government and for the national airline. Assess the flexibility to adjust the Strategy to manage different scenarios and make recommendations as appropriate;
  • Identify immediate and short-term priority domestic and international routes and connections and necessary actions to provide the minimum reliable scheduled services to transport people and goods, jumpstart businesses and facilitate projects/investments geared towards economic recovery;
  • Summarize potential alternative or supplementary aviation models, which may be considered to support increased aviation connectivity for Solomon Islands, including the effects of greater market share by regional airlines and conversely greater regional market share by Solomon Airlines;
  • In consultation with the Government and Solomon Airlines, recommend, develop and analyze a short-list of options available to Government and other stakeholders, identify key issues and restraints, assess the costs and risks to Government and likelihood of achieving Government objectives; and
  • Discuss institutional arrangements, including any institutional and/or regulatory improvements that would improve the capacity of local agencies to develop both domestic and international services, including identification of any gaps that need to be addressed going forward. The consultant shall hold consultation meetings with the SIG, CAASI and SIACL and the Tourism Division of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as well as regional and international bodies, among other relevant stakeholders.
Alessandra Dolabella
Alessandra Dolabella
Project Coordinator at IOS Partners, Inc.

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