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SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (January 28, 2001 - Saipan Tribune/PINA Nius Online)---The Northern Marianas Commonwealth Ports Authority next week will host the Pacific Aviation Directors' Workshop, a convention expected to involve officials from at least 80 airports and airlines.

The February 6-9 meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan will discuss issues based on the theme "Building Partnerships for Aviation Safety."

The four-day directors' seminar will touch on such aviation topics as airport emergency plans, hazardous materials and its management, fire fighter stress testing, airport facility and equipment maintenance, runway incursions, emergency exercises and flight standards.

An onsite visit to the island of Tinian will be conducted on the third day. Participants will be given the opportunity to examine the West Tinian Airport runway expansion project, funded in part by the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Commonwealth Ports Association Executive Director Carlos H. Salas said the workshop is aimed at discussing future improvements and continued maintenance of Pacific island facilities under the FAA’s administration.

Measures to improve the aviation sector's revenue-generating capabilities will also be discussed, according to Salas.

A significant part of the aviation forum will be devoted to a consideration of airport responsibilities in cases of aircraft disasters.

The seminar will also put emphasis on reports pertaining to the accomplishments of airport administrations throughout the United States mainland and the American Pacific.

The participants are expected to obtain vital data that will enable their aviation entities to stay competitive.

The Commonwealth Ports Authority’s goal is to make the Northern Marianas airports equal with facilities in other countries. A long-term improvement plan for Saipan International Airport will include expansion of its runway safety zone.

The agency's efforts are prompted by problems relating to transportation, which have long been identified as major contributing factors to a stagnant local economy.

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

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