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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Feb. 13) – Northwest Airlines announced last week that it would introduce a second nonstop flight between Tokyo's Narita Airport and Saipan.

This follows Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Benigno R. Fitial's recent visit to Japan to meet with senior Northwest Airlines executives to push for the launch of a new flight, and to reassure the airline that the new administration will support the airline to the maximum extent possible.

The new service from Tokyo, which begins on April 24, 2006, will operate a second Boeing 747 Jumbo jet from Tokyo, flying three times a week. The flight will carry 400 economy and 30 business class passengers, for a total of 430 seats.

As a result, this second NW flight from Tokyo will generate an additional 5,160 additional seats from Japan per month, a major boost for the CNMI's tourism industry, which has been reeling as a result of the pullout of JAL from the CNMI in October last year.

Northwest and Fitial signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding confirming the CNMI's support for NW, and confirming a multi-agency marketing package contributed to by the MVA and CPA in support of a new flight.

Gov. Fitial instructed the MVA to aggressively market the new NW flight and urged the Commonwealth Ports Authority to provide discounts on passenger service fees under a standing policy to encourage airlines to launch new flights.

Jeff Bernier, Director of Sales and Trade Marketing for Northwest Airlines in Japan commented: "Today's announcement of our additional Saipan flight is a clear indication of Northwest's continued dedication to the CNMI and Japan market. The incremental flights were made possible in large part thanks to the Governor and MVA's willingness to work with Northwest on enhancing tourism between Japan and CNMI." He added, "Our key travel agency partners requested more seats to Saipan and we delivered. I look forward to working with them to deliver positive results for the Governor and the people of CNMI."

Jerry Tan, newly appointed to the MVA Board of Directors, accompanied the governor to Japan in an unofficial capacity pending his confirmation to the board.

February 13, 2006

Saipan Tribune

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