Gov. Ralph DLG Torres recently met with Skymark Airlines, Japan’s third largest carrier headquartered at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, to discuss the launch of direct flight services from Japan to Saipan during the upcoming winter schedule.
“I met with Skymark Airlines executives a couple [of] months ago to discuss the launch of direct flights from Japan to Saipan later this year. I am pleased to say that Skymark has begun evaluating the launch of direct flights, targeting a launch during the upcoming winter schedule. They have met with the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, and other government agencies who have all offered their full support to Skymark. A more formal announcement will be made as soon as their evaluation process and official decision is complete,” Torres said.
The announcement comes at a critical time as Delta Air Lines suspends flights to the Marianas effective May 6, 2018.
In late February, Torres and MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion met with several local Japan market stakeholders to underscore the importance of the historical Japan market and the plans to revitalize it moving forward.
“It is important to have our local stakeholders and partners involved in our process of finding viable airlines to service our Japan market. The Marianas tourism industry was built by Japanese investment over 40 years ago, and our histories and cultures remain intertwined,” Concepcion said.
“My administration, MVA, CPA and the Legislature have made this a high priority in the last several months, and we are now seeing tangible signs of progress with Skymark indicating their plans to fly to the CNMI in the next several months,” Torres said.
Torres also announced that 28 flights will be operated from Narita International Airport to Saipan and that the CNMI is currently in talks with United Airlines and other carriers on operating direct flights to Japan to fill the void between now and when Skymark launches later this year.
“Our community is making great strides, and I will make sure we will continue to leverage the resources we have for the Japanese market for a more diverse visitor market” Torres said.
“The MVA thanks Gov. Torres and his administration for their continual support of the Japan market and of MVA’s ongoing efforts. Their commitment to utilize all available resources to revitalize this key market is welcome news for our stakeholders and the Marianas,” Concepcion said. (PR)