CNMI AIRPORT AND MARINE REVENUE DROP

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By Lindablue F. Romero

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 14, 1998 - Saipan Tribune)---The aviation division of the Commonwealth Ports Authority (CPA) generated $655,632 in operating revenue in November, a six percent reduction compared to the month of October primarily as a result of the continuous decline in visitor arrivals to the CNMI and the shutting down of operations of Marianas Air.

The marine division's operating revenues for the same period registered a total of $285,000, or an eight percent decline compared to October, which was due to a drop in gross receipts income, dockage and wharf fees.

Operating expenses in the aviation division totaled $1,078,395, or a one percent increase from the month of October because of an insurance premium payment. The aviation division incurred a net loss of $418,735, or a 34 percent increase over October.

As of Nov. 30, 1998, the cumulative net loss balance reached $731,136, which demonstrates CPA's financial difficulty in paying for its long-term debts.

As of last month, the aviation division's working capital reserves totaled $4,689,654, or a 10 percent drop from October. With only limited cash reserves available to the aviation division, the ports authority must look for other alternatives to prevent a further shortfall.

Based on the comptroller's analysis, the cash will be depleted by the year 2000, thus management must look for ways to further cut down on personnel costs.

In the marine division, operating expenses amounted to $125,895, or a slight one percent increase from the October period. Net income at the seaport amounted to $166,880 for November, or an 18 percent drop from October, primarily due to the decline in the number of vessels calling at the port.

As of Nov. 30, the balance of working capital reserves amounted to $4,369,505 or a five percent decrease over October. According to the comptroller's analysis, the ports authority's capital reserves in the seaport division will not be depleted if the ports authority does not use the funds for capital improvement projects.

For additional reports from The Island Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Island Tribune or http://www.islandtribune.com

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