SOLOMON Airlines chief executive officer Captain Ron Sumsum is expected to leave the airline by the end of the year, after 10 years on the job.
The airline’s general manager operations &commercial, Gas Kraus, announced this on Wednesday in front of business executives and leaders in Honiara.
This was during an event organised to welcome back the airline’s two big aircrafts – Dash-8 and Airbus – that have underwent major refurbishment over the past months abroad.
Mr Kraus said Captain Sumsum had made that decision known to the government.
It’s understood the airline board had extended Captain Sumsum’s contract from last September because they were unable to find a suitable person to replace him.
Captain Sumsum’s current extended contract expires at the end of September, but he is expected to remain with the airline for three months until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.
The current board, under the chairmanship of Austin Holmes, is understood to have conducted interviews already for the CEO job.
But they are yet to pick a candidate.
Captain Sumsum has not reapplied.
Mr Kraus has described Captain Sumsum as a “champion of safety”, and this is one of the reasons why the airline management stood firm behind his leadership in the last 10 years.
Mr Kraus also told guests the recent refurbishment of the Dash-8 and Airbus aircrafts cost the airline approximately $29.1 million.
These two aircrafts were purchased after Captain Sumsum, from Vanuatu, took the helm of Solomon Airlines.
The Dash-8 went for repairs in Australia, while the Airbus was placed with a firm in the Philippines.
Mr Kraus said the repair bill for the Dash-8 was AUD$1.4 million (SBD$5.7 million), while the Airbus was USD$3.5 million (SBD$23.4 million).
He said while the repair bills are huge, the airline has an obligation to meet those costs to ensure the safety of the travelling public.
Mr Kraus urged the national government to upgrade airfields across the country to allow the Dash-8 aircraft to service the nation and people well.
He said the Dash-8 is an economical aircraft and Solomon Airlines needs a second Dash-8 aircraft.
Source: Solomon Star/Solomon Today Post