A new signatory airline may soon be added to the short list of CNMI carriers following disclosure yesterday that Papaya Air has started submitting permits and documents for its plan to launch regular flights to Saipan.
Edward Deleon Guerrero, executive director of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, confirmed that the fledgling carrier has already turned in some requirements.
Based on the new carrier's submission, it will tap the Beijing and Shanghai markets for its first regular flights to Saipan. It hopes to commence within months.
Papaya Air will be using the Federal Aviation Administration certificate of U.S.-based Dynamic Airways, which is permitted to fly to various U.S. states.
Deleon Guerrero said that CPA is just waiting for some modifications to the FAA certificate to include services to U.S. territories.
“Dynamic Airways is a U.S.-based carrier, whose permit allows flights in U.S. states. In order to service the CNMI, the company has to submit an amendment to FAA to include the territories.and that's the final document we're waiting for to move forward with this project,” he said.
The company has already obtained other requirements like liability insurance and incorporation, he added.
CPA is not aware of how much money Papaya Air is investing but Deleon Guerrero described communications with Papaya Air as “constant and continuous.”
The new carrier, like other signatory airlines, will be provided a separate counter at the airport once everything is settled, he said.
He said the company initially aimed to make its maiden flight to the CNMI in January this year but this was postponed due to some delays in the needed requirements.
He said Papaya Air's bid to service the CNMI is welcome news because it will significantly boost the tourism industry and the CNMI economy as a whole.
If Papaya Air's service is realized, this will bring to four the Commonwealth's signatory airlines. The others are Asiana Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.
In a visit to Papaya Air's office near Airport Road yesterday, Saipan Tribune was informed by the company's information technology staff, Tim Zhang, that information about the project will be provided to media once it is made available by the company.
Saipan Tribune tried to contact Papaya Air general manager Yolanda Elliot but she has yet to issue a statement as of press time. Elliot is also the person listed as the contact for CPA.
On Feb. 15, Dynamic Airways posted job announcements seeking applicants for flight attendants and crew members.