Businessman Anthony Pellegrino admitted yesterday that although his foray in the cargo airline business may have encountered some turbulence, he is not about to give up on Arctic Circle Air Co., touted as the CNMI's first cargo carrier.
“The business is on the go. We may be delayed a little bit, but not defeated. That's what we informed them [Commonwealth Development Authority] today because as our major investor, we should provide them a status report as a courtesy,” Pellegrino said after a closed-door meeting with the CDA board last Friday.
He said the company is anticipating Arctic Circle aircraft's arrival to the CNMI very soon. Pellegrino said it is scheduled to depart Alaska on Monday and is expected to be on island at least seven days later.
According to Pellegrino, the company completed purchase of Arctic Circle Air Service, Inc. Alaska on Dec. 28, 2011. The Arctic Circle Air owns 100 percent of the outstanding common stock of this 35-year-old Alaskan airline headquartered in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Saipan Tribune learned that CDA was instrumental in providing funding for the airline purchase and stock of Arctic Circle Air Services. Pellegrino said CDA has been supportive in recognizing the needs of the CNMI in transporting goods between islands.
He said economic development can only take place if goods and people can move between the islands conveniently and economically.
“CDA, along with 55 other local investors, came together to make this business a reality. By the end of August, goods can move between the islands daily. Arctic Circle will offer same day service to its customers on Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam,” said Pellegrino, in a statement also issued Friday.
He explained the reasons for some of the delays in Artic Circle's operations.
“To meet stringent FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] conformity requirements, company contracted with manufacturer of the aircraft to adhere to FAA operating guidelines. It took longer than anticipated to transfer the aircraft. Aircraft delayed in arriving in Alaska by nearly three months,” explained Pellegrino in a statement, adding that mechanical improvements were undertaken in Alaska to prepare for transport to Saipan as well as undertaking required final inspections by FAA.
The Britten-Norman BN-2T aircraft can carry over 2,000 lbs of cargo, or nine passengers for 1,000 miles.
Pellegrino said the company will announce a welcoming party for stockholders, government officials, and customers once the plane arrives on island.