MVA official: Japan-Saipan direct flights to continue

TWO airlines will soon serve the Narita-Saipan and Nagoya-Saipan routes, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion said.

“There will be 30 [Japan] flights in August,” he told the MVA board on Tuesday after board member Chris Nelson mentioned Delta Air Lines’ termination of its Narita-Saipan flight service on May 6.

But Concepcion declined to disclose additional information as negotiations were still ongoing.

He said Gov. Ralph Torres and MVA have been in communication with the airline companies that will soon launch the flight service to Saipan, adding that the governor is expected to make an announcement soon.

“Lots of things are happening,” he added.

He said there are also ongoing negotiations with United Airlines and travel agencies in Japan, but “there’s a little bit of reluctance on both sides to fully commit supporting charter flights. But I am in communication with our Japan office and we will see what we can do,” Concepcion told the board.

He said it has been a struggle, but MVA is working very closely with the Commonwealth Ports Authority which offers an incentive program  to airlines.

“So we’re kind of combining forces to see what we can do,” Concepcion said as he assured the board that MVA is taking care of the Japan market.

“We will have a new Japan flight service in a few months,” he reiterated. “It’s going to allow the Japan market to return to an acceptable level and then we will continue growing it — that’s our mission.”

As for  the Rota-Guam-Saipan flights, Concepcion said CPA officials are taking the lead in negotiating with United Airlines which will end its partnership with Cape Air at the end of the month.

But Concepcion said there are plans to extend Cape Air’s Rota flight service for six months, and there’s also another airline company interested in Marianas inter-island flights.

“There are ongoing talks,” he added without elaborating.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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