By launching Saipan-Osaka flights in October, Northwest Airlines will be picking up over one-third of the passenger traffic currently brought in by Japan Airlines.
The daily nonstop flights between the Kansai International Airport and the Saipan International Airport will provide the Northern Marianas 66,430 seats annually.
This represents about 43 percent of JAL's annual traffic. JAL currently operates daily service to Saipan from Tokyo and Osaka, bringing in an average of 155,865 tourists to the CNMI a year.
According to Northwest, the new service from Osaka to Saipan will take effect on Oct. 1, 2005, about the same time that JAL is slated to suspend its Saipan flights.
The new service will be operated with the airline's Boeing 757-200, with 20 seats in business class and 162 seats in coach class.
The Osaka-bound flights are scheduled to depart Saipan at 6:20am daily, with an expected arrival at 9am.
From Osaka, Northwest will fly to Saipan at 8:35pm, with an estimated time of arrival of 1:15pm.
“The new service between the Northern Mariana Islands and Japan demonstrates Northwest's continuing commitment to meeting the changing travel needs of our valued Asia/Pacific customers,” Laura Liu, vice president of international marketing and sales, said in a statement.
The introduction of the new flight will qualify Northwest for incentives offered by the Commonwealth Ports Authority.
Under CPA's incentive program, any airline that establishes a new or additional direct flight to the islands from an international market or airport outside of a U.S. jurisdiction will get a 50-percent discount on airport fees.
Fees covered by this program are the $8 departure facility service charge and the $2.20 international arrival fee.
Northwest also announced that it would introduce new daily nonstop service to Guam from Osaka and Nagoya.
The Guam-Osaka service, which will begin at the same time as the Saipan-Osaka flights, complements existing nonstop service from Osaka to three destinations such as Detroit, Honolulu, and Taipei.
Osaka-bound flights will depart Guam at 4:15pm and land on the Kansai airport at 7:05pm. From Osaka, the flights will depart at 10am, with an estimated arrival time of 2:45pm.
The Guam-Nagoya service will be launched on Nov. 1, 2005. It complements existing service from Nagoya to four destinations including Detroit, Manila, Philippines, Saipan, and Tokyo.
Nagoya-bound flights will leave Guam at 4:15pm daily, with an estimated arrival time of 7:10pm. From Nagoya, Northwest will fly to Guam at 10:20am and arrive at 3:05pm.
Northwest flights to and from Nagoya are now operating from the new Central Japan International Airport, known as “Centrair.”