Since last May’s pullout of Delta Airlines, the CNMI’s only direct flight to Japan, the administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has been working tirelessly to provide alternative air service to cater to the Japan market.
Fortunately, after a month, three airlines have stepped up to charter Japan flights to fill the gap until a stable Japan air service is established.
According to Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion, Jin Air, Asiana Airlines, and Jeju Air will provide Japan chartered flights as early as this Friday, July 13.
“Jin Air will launch 23 summer charters beginning Aug. 1 from Tokyo-Narita to Saipan. Asiana Airlines will also operate five charters from Tokyo-Narita to Saipan in August. Jeju will operate a flight from Nagoya to Saipan on July 13,” he said.
Concepcion said, in behalf of MVA, they are pleased with the success they have achieved in the mission to secure a direct flight to and from Japan.
“The MVA has been working tirelessly to bring additional flights from Japan so we are pleased with the success we’ve had thus far. Japan remains a pillar of our tourism industry even with limited flight options and we remain optimistic about the future of this key source market with the upcoming entry of a new airline soon,” he said.
Concepcion said that the remainder of this fiscal year would see further drops in arrivals from Japan.
“As expected with limited flights so we seek community support to ensure our visitors are given the best experience when vacating in the CNMI,” he said.
Fortunately, back in May, Skymark Airlines officially agreed to launch direct flights between the CNMI and Japan during the upcoming winter schedule.
Skymark Airlines is Japan’s third largest carrier headquartered at Haneda Airport in Tokyo and will be the first Japan-based carrier in the CNMI since 2005, when Japan Airlines closed its Saipan office.