AIRLINES RESUME REGULAR FLIGHTS IN CNMI

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By Haidee V. Eugenio

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 20) - Japan Airlines,
Northwest Airlines and Continental Micronesia are resuming normal operations in
the CNMI, including reviving canceled flights, reverting to bigger aircraft use
and bringing additional chartered flights, Variety learned yesterday.

Carlos Salas, executive director of the Commonwealth Ports
Authority, told Variety that the airline operations are "going back to
normal" three months after the war in Iraq and the SARS outbreak.

Japan Airlines, which had been using the 526-seat Boeing 747 for
all its flights, started utilizing the smaller DC-10 aircraft on April 7 for its
Tokyo flights.

Yasuyoshi Kinoshita, public relations manager of JAL, said the
airline recently upgraded again to Boeing 747 because of an increase in the
volume of passengers in recent weeks.

JAL will also bring in four additional chartered flights, which
started on June 4 from Okinawa.

The second chartered flight arrived on Saipan from Nagoya early
yesterday morning.

Kinoshita said JAL has two more chartered flights from Nagoya,
on July 1 and 9.

"JAL is also having a special campaign for small group
passengers from July 16 to Sept. 30. We’re making a lot of efforts to promote
the CNMI market, to have more passengers," Kinoshita said in a separate
interview.

Continental Micronesia, according to Salas, may revive its
normal flight schedules in July.

"They had to cancel some flights (from Narita) since late
April due to low passenger load, but they’re looking at reviving those flights
in July," he said.

Northwest Airlines will start re-using the 526-seat Boeing 747
again in July for all its Japan-Saipan flights, said Salas.

Due to low passenger load as a result of the Iraq war and SARS,
Northwest Airlines used the 143-seat Airbus 320 for some of its flights.

"One thing we’ve learned from all this is the fact that
after a peak (tourist) traffic period from October to February, arrivals could
take a nose dive in just a short period of time. So we always have to prepare
for the worst. This remains a volatile period but at least passengers are
starting to go back," Salas told Variety.

Of the major airlines servicing the CNMI, only Asiana Airlines’
flight schedules did not change even during the height of the SARS scare and the
war in Iraq.

June 20, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

 

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