By Agnes E. Donato

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 23) - Japan Airlines will resume its direct flights from Osaka to Saipan beginning Oct. 2, the Marianas Visitors Authority said.

The resumption of the direct flights reflects the steady recovery of international passenger demand and JAL’s confidence in the increase in travel bookings to the CNMI, MVA said.

"We appreciate our partnership with JAL and are confident that there will be an increase in demand for travel to the Northern Marianas," MVA Managing Director Jonas Ogren said.

He added, "JAL has shown their commitment to the CNMI by this resumption of their Osaka flight even as they have reduced direct flights to other destinations."

JAL suspended its daily Osaka-Saipan flights following the decrease in passenger demand caused by the Iraq war and the outbreak of SARS.

Instead, the airline company consolidated its Osaka-Saipan and Osaka-Guam routes.

"In the first half of the year, the Iraq conflict and the SARS outbreaks inflicted a severe negative impact on international passenger demand, resulting in reduced frequency and suspension of flights. With the demand slump bottoming out in May, JAL has been steadily reinstating flights and by autumn, most international flight operations will be back to originally planned level," JAL said in a statement.

It added, "However, because of continuing low passenger demand on some international routes, such as from regional Japanese cities to Honolulu and between Japan and South Asia, some suspensions and frequency reductions remain in place."

September 23, 2003

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 


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