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Service to end in March

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 28, 2008) – Less that a week after Asian Airlines welcomed its inaugural Osaka-Saipan flight, Northwest Airlines has announced it will be stopping its own service on the route to the Northern Marianas starting from March next year.

Northwest Airlines Guam and Saipan general manager Richard Parsons told the Saipan Tribune the route would be suspended in response to the global economic recession and softening customer demand.

But Mr Parsons said the decision to suspend the service does not mean that Northwest Airlines has lost faith in the CNMI as a destination for tourists from Japan.

He said daily service would continue from Nagoya and Narita as would the one stop service from Osaka via Narita.

Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Perry Tenorio said the shelving of the route was a blow to the Commonwealth’s tourism industry.

In a memo sent last week to the Governor about revenue sources for the Fiscal Year 2009, the Finance Secretary, Eloy Inos, quoted a visitor authority report that said the Northwest Airlines’ Osaka-Saipan route contributed approximately US$112 million into the CNMI economy.

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