CPA says it will receive new flights

A DAY after it was sued in federal court by Beijing Capital Airlines, the Commonwealth Ports Authority announced the imposition of an indefinite stay on CPA Resolution 17-03 which suspends all new airlines from coming into the CNMI for 60 days.

According to a notice issued by CPA Executive Director Chris Tenorio on Thursday afternoon, while they are still waiting for the U.S. Department of Transportation review and response, they will receive new flights, provided the airlines comply with all federal and CPA regulations.

The notice states that “the moratorium on new airline flight service into the CNMI approved pursuant to CPA Board Resolution 17-03 on June 13, is hereby stayed.”

It added, “This stay is for an indefinite period pending further response and comment from the U.S. Department of Transportation through its deputy assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs. As such, all airlines with pending approved U.S. DOT certificates and meeting the requirements under federal and CPA regulations for air service shall be presented with the appropriate Airline Use Agreement or AUA for signature. Thereafter, such new airlines may commence service and utilize the CPA facilities pursuant to the AUA terms including all applicable fee as well as conditions for use of the Saipan International Airport.”

Tenorio said “airlines who do not sign and concur with the CPA requirements for the AUA may not, however, use the Saipan International Airport facility until such time that there is in place a fully executed and effective AUA.”

He said “without an AUA in effect, CPA makes no assurance or promise and bears no obligation as to any commitments an airline carrier may make during the processing of the AUA with CPA. CPA, however, shall make every reasonable effort to expedite and process all AUA applications subject to its rules and regulations.”

The Torres administration, which “requested” that CPA impose the 60-day moratorium, said:

“The Office of the Governor will continue to conduct its review…and will make a decision to move forward with the relevant parties involved. We will provide additional information as soon as we conclude our review.”

Tenorio in a statement on Thursday said:

“CPA respects and understands the concerns of the CNMI government as to the impact of substantially increasing tourist arrivals with new airlines, which the [CPA] board of directors fully considered in the passage of Resolution 17-03.

“However, the best interests of CPA require maintaining a collaborative process with its federal partners and regulating agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation. To do so, CPA exercises its discretion and deference to allow for the consultative process with these agencies and avoid any undue hardship on commerce and airline service into the CNMI, both of which are critical to our commonwealth.

“To that end, CPA will confer with the U.S DOT and FAA further as well as the CNMI government in order to address the concerns while ensuring a mutually beneficial approach which is proactive and productive. As such, the stay is imposed indefinitely until further notice.”

Beijing Capital Airlines’ lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against CPA and Christopher Tenorio in his official capacity as the executive director of CPA.

Represented by lawyer Daniel T. Guidotti, the airline said it filed a foreign air carrier application with the USDOT in 2016 and it was granted on Jan. 17, 2017.

USDOT allowed the airline to transport passengers from Hangzhou China into Saipan.

The airline said it is fully compliant with the provisions of the USDOT permit, adding that CPA has also granted the airline two weekly flight times from Hangzhou, China.

The airline is supposed to start its flight service on June 29 and has been promoting it, selling more than 2,000 tickets already and reserving the same number of hotel rooms.

The airline wants the court to declare CPA’s 60-day ban void and unenforceable because it is preempted by federal law, and because it deprives Beijing Capital Airlines of a “protected property interest without procedural due process.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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