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By Moneth G. Deposa

SAIPAN, CNMI (The Marianas Variety, Oct. 13) - Cape Air will continue its service to Rota although the frequency will be reduced from daily flights to three a week.

After securing a commitment from Rota Resort Hotel regarding a guaranteed number of seats for the airline, Cape Air decided to continue its operations to the island.

Two months ago, it announced that it would suspend its flights to Rota by September due to the low load factor and increased fuel costs.

According to Rota port manager Thomas Manglona, Cape Air started its three flights weekly for the Guam-Rota and Saipan-Rota routes on Wednesday.

"We have three flights a week coming from Guam to Rota and also three flights a week for Saipan-Rota route," Manglona said.

For the Guam-Rota route, the scheduled flights are Monday, Tuesday and Saturday with a 10:45 a.m. departure time from Guam.

For the Saipan-Rota route, Manglona said the three flights every week are scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The flights are scheduled to depart Saipan at 9:05 a.m.

"We are very happy that Cape Air was able to reconsider its decision. This will be a big help and boost to our island which is now becoming more promising based on the several marketing plans and strategies that the (the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Commonwealth Ports Authority) and the Rota municipality are considering," Manglona said.

Next month, a triathlon will be held on Rota as part of the municipality’s effort to promote tourism.

"This will be the start of a good season for Rota. With the triathlon, we are expecting more tourists traveling to our island," Manglona said.

CPA Rota and MVA officials earlier flew to Guam to meet with Continental Micronesia officials and ask them to reconsider the suspension plan for Cape Air.

Rota Resort Hotel promised that at least 32 of its guests will patronize each Cape Air flight.

Cape Air uses three 46-seat ATR aircraft for its Guam-Rota-Saipan route.

Rota is also serviced by Freedom Air, which flies a 30-seat plane.

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