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At first, it seemed to be a routine project. We were contracted to arrange a nonstop flight between Singapore and Honiara, Solomon Islands to facilitate air transfers of embarking and disembarking cruise ship passengers. But thanks to operational, regulatory, and time zone challenges, it became an adventure as big as the cruise itself—and we had to devise solutions from halfway around the world.
Challenge 1: a change of aircraft
We had contracted to have a Dreamliner complete the flight. However, while conducting subsequent risk assessments in preparation for the project, our airline partner determined in the interest of safety that a Dreamliner was not suited to landing or takeoff at Honiara airport.
Our solution: scheduling two B737-800s to fly simultaneously from Singapore and Honiara and meet at an intermediary point. Although many airports in that region lack the infrastructure to carry out our plan safely, Cairns met our geographic and safety requirements.
Challenge 2: regulatory roadblocks
But our passengers didn’t have visas for entry and exit in Australia because it was not on the original itinerary. To complicate matters further, the flights from each country were on different airlines. We negotiated with both airlines and airport authorities to secure permission for passengers to complete their transfers without officially crossing into Australian territory. The airlines also agreed to transfer the baggage without requiring re-checking.
Challenge 3: choreographing the connection
There was just one more hurdle: the time difference. For safety, the turnaround in Honiara had to occur during daylight hours. The flight time to Cairns is seven hours from Singapore and three Honiara. And each airport is in a different time zone: Singapore is UTC+8, Cairns is UTC+10, and Honiara is UTC+11.
To manage that challenge, we scheduled the Singapore flight for night-time departure, with a mid-morning arrival in Cairns and an afternoon landing in Honiara. Meanwhile, passengers departed Honiara in the early morning and reached Cairns by mid-morning for the connection to their Singapore flight. To help ensure on-time take-off, we stationed a PRO SKY Flight Manager at each airport.
The result: a complex but complete success
The creative problem-solving paid off: all the flights operated on time, no bag was lost, and so Pro Sky met the client’s requirements and delivered a success.
Your upcoming travel needs may not be this complicated—but no matter what challenges you encounter, our team will work with yours to create and execute the solution you need.
For all additional information, you can contact our team specialising in Group Flights