Suavanao Airport is located at Suavanao Point on the eastern
coast of Santa Isabel Island bordering Rekata Bay in Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands.
There was a Burns Phillips copra plantation at this location, known as Suavanau Plantation. Used
for offensive seaplane operations, and as an emergency landing
and ditching area for Japanese aircraft damaged over Guadalcanal. Japanese pilots who ditched would flown back to their home bases at Rabaul and Bougainville. Many 'washing machine charlie' took off from Rekata Bay, then harassed American positions at night.
Occupied by the Japanes in the middle of 1942. This point was developed into a forward base known as Rekata Bay Seaplane Base, with anti-aircraft guns, and limited facilities for seaplane operations, and moorings around the point.
Japanese Units Based at Rekata
R Area Air Force (seaplanes) September
- November 1942
Walter Lord writes in Lonley Vigil:
"Japanese anti-aircraft gunners at Rekata Bay, who seemed to be the best in the business."
Although it was pounded
from the air by Allied forces, it was never attacked directly,
and its garrison was withdrawn in early September 1943.
Allied missions against Suavanao
August 7, 1942 - August 16, 1943
Post-War Airfield Construction
The present day runway was built in the early 1990s, this strip was repaired or finished by the logging company 'Earthmovers' and opened for flights. According to locals, an aircraft wreck was at the strip during the construction period.
A remote area, the weekly flights to this location are often cancelled due to weather or not enough passengers.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
September 24, 2018