admin's picture

By Agnes E. Donato

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, September 27) - Air China will launch twice weekly flights between Beijing and Saipan on Sunday, September 30, 2007.

The scheduled service will depart Beijing every Thursday and Sunday. The flight will operate using Boeing 777 aircraft, with seating for 319 passengers.

In view of the new service, the Commonwealth Ports Authority announced in yesterday's board meeting that Air China would receive discounts on airport fees and charges for the next three years.

Air China joins two other airlines-Northwest and Asiana which were previously granted benefits under CPA's airline incentive program.

Incentives include 100 percent discounts on the passenger departure charge, international arrival fee, and aircraft landing fee from October 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008. A 50 percent discount will apply on the same fees and charges from April 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008.

The program will be in effect until September 30, 2010.

CPA initiated the incentives to help revive the travel industry. Air service to the Northern Marianas has declined significantly after Japan Airlines ceased regular flights and Continental Airlines decreased service to the islands.

"We're giving incentives to encourage airlines to maintain their current service levels and possibly add flights to the CNMI," said acting CPA executive director Stanley C. Torres, Jr.

In the board meeting, CPA board chair Rex Palacios said Air China has expressed interest in signing an airport user agreement with CPA. The agreement is a requirement for participation in the airline incentive program.

Flights from Beijing to Saipan were previously chartered by Century Tours, an accredited tour agency under the 2004 CNMI-China Approved Destination Status agreement.

Beijing was to be the third city on the Chinese mainland to have direct flights to the Northern Marianas, after Guangzhou and Shanghai.

But the Shanghai service, operated by China Eastern, was suspended last month. Century Tours and Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino dropped the service after the airline asked for a charter fee increase.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment