Due to efforts of Japan Airlines and Asiana Airlines to bring in more visitors to the Northern Marianas, the Commonwealth Ports Authority’s operating revenues in a the aviation division increased by five percent in March 1999 amounting to $893,206 compared to the same period of last year.
Despite the gloomy outlook in the aviation industry due to Asia’s financial crisis, Japan Airlines aggressively carried out its own promotion of the Northern Marianas which resulted in an increase in Japanese arrivals through five extra flights while Asiana brought additional visitors by adding seven more flights.
Tourism officials, however, have expressed concern on the effect of Continental Micronesia’s decision terminating the Osaka-Saipan direct service due to weak market demand. This leaves only two direct flights of Continental — Nagoya-Saipan and Hong Kong-Saipan. Passengers from other destinations would have no other choice but to wait for a connecting flight from Guam to reach Saipan.
The aviation division suffered a 60 percent net loss amounting to $114,865 as a result of the reduction of 16 flights by Continental Airlines. Operating expense in the same division dropped 12 percent or only a total of $729,382.
As of last month, the balance of working capital reserves amounted to $4.8 million or a seven percent increase from its balance in February 1999. Since the operations have consistently shown an increase at a normal rate, the ports authority was able to realize the needed amount for its monthly debt service payment.
The aviation section was also able to save $282,094 from the budget of the operating expenses and capital expenditures which proves that the ports authority has been successful in carrying out cost-cutting measures.
On the other hand, the marine division’s operating revenues declined 14 percent amounting to $338,473 in March due to significant drop from harbor earnings specifically the seven percent drop in the gross revenue tonnage. Furthermore, the marine division’s net income plunged 42 percent as it only amounted to $216,257.
Net income in the marine division dropped by 42 percent as it generated $216,257 due to seven percent reduction of the port activities brought about by the decline in revenue tonnage.
Working capital reserves as of March 31, 1999 amounted to $4.4 million.