New flights moratorium now with USDOT

A resolution adopted by the Commonwealth Ports Authority board last week to suspend new international flights into the CNMI has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

The CPA board submitted the resolution for approval by USDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The resolution has already been submitted by the CPA management to the USDOT. It is now under review and we are on standby for any response from them,” said CPA board member Barrie Toves.

“We don’t know how quickly the USDOT will respond. But this is something urgent and should be a priority by the USDOT. The 60-day timeline is pretty short,” said board member Pete Reyes.

The CPA resolution halts new international flights to the CNMI for just 60 days.

“The economy of the CNMI is growing pretty fast. We need to take a break and look at the situation. This 60-day period is an opportunity to assess the situation and make a decision. After all, it is not a permanent suspension but a temporary one,” said Reyes.

The resolution, as requested by Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, was adopted on June 13, 2017, during a special CPA board meeting. It imposes a 60-day moratorium on the entry of new international airline service into the CNMI, to enable the local government to assess the capacity of the CNMI’s infrastructure to accommodate the rapid increase in visitor arrivals.

At that meeting, board chair Jose Lifoifoi said, “The resolution is a request to the USDOT for us to be able to suspend all new airlines flying from different directions for 60 days. I think the governor is leaving next month to discuss this in Washington and meet with the secretary of the DOT.”

The FAA is within USDOT and is responsible for approving flight routes.

The USDOT and FAA’s approval is a procedural process.

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