The Commonwealth Ports Authority has returned to full operation, restoring furloughed employees to their regular 80 hours, thanks to the recent allocation of $2.2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.
According to CPA board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds, the funds were used to restore employee hours from 72 to 80 hours. The allocation came right in time for the expected surge in Travel Bubble visitors forecasted by the Marianas Visitor’s Authority.
“CPA employees were first to be furloughed and last to be restored with regards to their work hours. These funds allow us to finally get everyone back to work full time. Now that we are in the process of resuming our tourism industry, we need our employees back to work so that we can fulfill the requirements of our local and federal mandates,” King-Hinds said.
According to an earlier CPA press release, CPA has received $2.2 million in ARPA funding from the CNMI government, to be used to lift austerity measures, restore employee hours, and bring CPA to full operational capacity.
The $2.2 million allocated to CPA through the central government is required to be used specifically for the restoration of employees’ work hours from August 2021 through fiscal year 2023 and to bring CPA to full operational capacity.
The funding allocation also coincides with an expected increase in international flights.
CPA received the $2.2 million in ARPA funding on Aug. 17, and returned to full operational capacity on Aug. 23.
Back in February 2020, CPA implemented austerity measures to ensure that air services could continue to be provided to the public, that CPA and the remaining airlines could continue to remain solvent, and for the continued safe operation of CPA airports despite the precipitous drop in the number of arriving tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures included the reduction of employees’ work hours in order to lower CPA’s operational costs.