U.S. CARRIER PLANS STOPOVER AT SAIPAN AIRPORT

admin's picture

By Aldwin R. Fajardo

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 20, 2000 - Saipan Tribune)---The Commonwealth Ports Authority is anticipating to generate additional revenues from landing fees that will be collected from a Florida-based airline company interested in making stopovers at Saipan International Airport.

CPA Executive Director Carlos H. Salas said plans by the Interamerican Air Group and Baltia Air Lines to refuel and do the regular engine check at the Saipan airport would mean additional income for the ports authority.

CPA recently implemented the new rate for landing fee, which is $1.40 for every thousand pounds for signatory airlines. The new airport and seaport rates were raised to allow CPA to pay its $53 million bond by 2008.

At the same time, the joint venture company of Interamerican Air Group and Merpati Nusantara Airlines is also planning to launch regular stopovers on its regular flights from New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Indonesia.

In his letter to Saipan Mayor Jose C. Sablan, Interamerican Air Group Executive Vice President Glenn R. Heikkila said the joint venture company is also exploring the possibility of providing its air transport service from the mainland U.S. and Jakarta to Saipan.

The air company's current plan calls for the flight to depart the John F. Kennedy airport in New York to Los Angeles to Honolulu to Saipan to Jakarta and return.

Interamerican Air Group and Baltia Airlines are hoping to launch single weekly flight between all points, with intention to expand the service within the six months.

"Although we know that Continental Micronesia is the dominant carrier in the region, we feel that our fare structure will be very competitive for both the business and leisure traveler," Mr. Heikkila said.

The carrier is expected to obtain its operating certificate by the second quarter of 2000.

At present, Baltia Airlines holds a U.S. Department of Transportation Flag Air Carrier authority for the New York-Russia route, and will be the only U.S. carrier operating the route.

Aircraft traffic at the Saipan International Airport continues to see major reduction. Aircraft landing from foreign destinations to Saipan declined by 19 percent during the first month of the year from the January 1999 level.

The decision of the Continental Micronesia to downsize its CNMI operations has also affected inbound traffic to the Saipan International Airport, which dropped by 24 percent in November last year compared with landing statistics during the same period in 1998.

A financial report prepared by the ports authority disclosed a sharp decline in the number of inbound international flights at the Saipan airport, to only 260 last year from 342 in November 1998.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment