CPA official: Long road ahead for Saipan airport recovery

ALTHOUGH the Saipan airport is back to normal operations, there is still a long road ahead toward full recovery, Commonwealth Ports Authority Executive Director Chris Tenorio said in a three-page report to the CPA board on Tuesday.

He said CPA’s revenue was negatively affected by Typhoon Yutu and so many other issues also need to be addressed.

Chris Tenorio

CPA, he added, is still conducting a complete assessment of the typhoon damage.

He said there could be “hidden” damage,  and that the Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting training center took a major blow and must be addressed in the near future.

On Nov. 15, Tenorio said the Saipan airport re-opened for daytime operations with commercial flights. Full day and night operations resumed on Nov. 20, but Tenorio said a majority of the airlines started operating on Nov. 27.

He said to date, CPA is still temporarily connected to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. grid. CPA is still awaiting parts from off-island for a permanent fix, he added.

Tenorio said Saipan terminals experienced “gigantic damage” and a lot of the windows in the holding rooms were broken. Moreover, all six jetways were lost, he added.

“The [U.S. Department of Transportation] was able to provide the CPA with two stair carts to use in lieu of the jetways. They have also placed an order for four stair carts, although it will take some time as they are being fabricated,” Tenorio stated in his report.

He added that CPA has already selected a contractor for replacement of three jetways, which will be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Tenorio said one airline has suspended its operation until April; another airline has downsized its flights; and yet another has delayed the launch of its operation.

“Given this information, CPA revenue is negatively affected. We are cautious about our expenses but again, there are still a few projects forthcoming.”

 He added, “Nonetheless, we continue to work with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and our insurance provider to offset some of these expenses.”

His report also indicated that to date, the Tinian airport is only operating during daylight hours because of the lack of navigational aids.

The Tinian port still has no power and vessels calling the port are instructed to bring their own lighting system, the report added.

Tenorio said a more detailed report is forthcoming upon completion of the assessment.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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