Asiana cancels more flights

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Asiana Airlines would be canceling more of its regularly scheduled flights—a move the Commonwealth Ports Authority has not prepared for and would ultimately impact their already large revenue loss.

According CPA board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, Asiana’s further cancellation of flights was not anticipated when the board was deliberating austerity measures and would greatly impact CPA’s revenue collection.

Asiana Airlines announced last Monday the cancellation of its morning flights from Feb. 27 to Feb. 29 and the morning flights from March 4 to March 18. Their afternoon flights will continue normal operations.

Although she couldn’t say yet how much of an impact the cancellations would bring to CPA, King-Hinds said she is sure CPA will return to the drawing board to deliberate on austerity measures and to discuss additional cuts if needed.

“It will definitely have an impact, which means we have to go back to the drawing board to see what the numbers look like. If the numbers call for an additional cut, the board will have to meet again to deliberate on where we can cut,” she said.

King-Hinds said Asiana cancelled more flights due to low passenger loads.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, low passenger loads is a worldwide trend at the moment, especially with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has provoked fear in people around the world.

Before the cancellation of Asiana’s morning flights, CPA airport and financial committees reported an overall projected loss of $3.9 million, including revenue loss from flights and others. Specifically, revenue loss from the four China flights was at an estimated $2.2 million.

To cope with that loss, the CPA board voted yes on an across-the-board cut of eight hours in employees’ work hours. That would reduce all airport employees to 72 hours each payroll. The board also agreed upon a total freeze on hiring, travel outside of the CNMI, merit increases, overtime, and more.

The austerity measures that the board agreed upon was supposed to take effect on March 1, but it is now subject to change since CPA must return to the drawing board to discuss further austerity measures.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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