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SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (January 16, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Korean Air resumed direct flights from Seoul to the Northern Mariana Islands last weekend, the first time in four years.

Landing in the early hours of Saturday morning at Saipan International Airport, the 268 passengers and 12 crew of KAL Flight 817 were welcomed by Governor Juan Babauta and other government officials.

Mr. Babauta said the resumption of direct flights to Saipan will contribute to economic growth.

KAL began serving the route in 1989 but flights were suspended in 1997 after one of its planes was involved in a crash in neighboring Guam in which over 200 people died.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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