CPA has $37M projects for Rota airport


Commonwealth Ports Authority executive director Christopher S. Tenorio, second row middle, joins CPA officials and staff during their celebration of Women’s Month yesterday. (Contributed Photo)

The Commonwealth Ports Authority is planning to construct an international terminal on Rota, which is part of CPA’s ongoing eight projects worth a total of $37 million for the island’s Benjamin Taisacan Manglona International Airport.

According to CPA’s Strategic Planning for CNMI Air and Seaports, the $15-million international terminal needs to accommodate anticipated direct flights to Rota and will relieve the issues of federal mandates restricting international and domestic travelers from comingling.

The new terminal, CPA said, will include larger holding rooms, airline check in and office space, federal screening checkpoints, installation of electronic trace detection system for checked baggage, concession space, loading bridges, and airport offices.

CPA claimed it has been receiving inquiries of direct flights to Rota from Asia.

“Airlines want to come to Rota but due to the limited space available at the arrival and departure areas, it is difficult to accommodate a large number of passengers,” CPA said.

CPA said the international terminal project’s duration is five years and its funding source is pending.

The seven other CPA projects are the $4-million perimeter fence replacement, the $5-million fuel storage facility, the $1.5-million parking lot expansion, the $3-million roof canopy replacement, the $2-million existing apron treatment, the $5-million runway extension, and the $1.5-million drainage improvements.

On the perimeter fence project, CPA said the design inclusive of an access road was completed in 2018 but due to the high costs of bids, was deferred to 2019.

Last August, Typhoon Mangkhut destroyed approximately 80 percent of the fence line.

In order to be complaint with Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration regulations, CPA said the entire perimeter fence at the airport needs to be replaced.

The estimated project duration is five years. FAA and CPA are the funding source.

On fuel storage, CPA said a facility is necessary if CPA plans to have direct flights to the island.

CPA currently reportedly has been receiving a lot of inquiries about airlines bringing in passengers from Asian countries, but due to the lack of the facility and fuel, the airlines do not come to Rota.

Several companies have expressed their interest in chartering direct flights to the island.

CPA said the construction and installation of a fuel storage facility would open up Rota’s doors for direct flights which would certainly help stimulate its economy.

The duration of the project is two years and its source is pending.

Pertaining to the parking lot expansion, CPA said upon completion of the international terminal project, the parking lot would need to be expanded as they expect additional vehicles dropping off and picking up customers.

The project duration is two years and the funding source is pending.

With respect to roof canopy replacement project, CPA said they have been experiencing leakages during heavy rain due to the deterioration of the roof canopy.

During heavy rain, over spray would enter the public/passenger waiting area, making it wet and causing a hazardous slippery condition.

The project duration is one year and CPA is the funding source.

On the existing apron treatment project, CPA said the surface of the apron has been deteriorated over time due to extreme weather conditions and airline traffic flow.

CPA determined it is imperative to resurface the apron to avoid any unforeseen incidents such as flat tires, airlines following wrong markings and other things.

The project duration is two years with FAA and CPA as the funding source.

With respect to runway extension, CPA plans to extend the existing runway from 7,000 feet to 8,600 feet to accommodate large, wide-bodied aircraft in anticipation of international flights.

The 1,600-foot extension would allow Boeing 747 or larger aircraft to make a safe landing.

The project duration is three years and funding source is pending.

On airport drainage, CPA said the drainage lines at the airport need to be replaced as they have been experiencing clogging in various locations.

CPA recognized it is a health hazard when the drainage is clogged as it leaks from the restaurant to the former Cape Air office.

The duration of the project is one year, with CPA as the funding source.

The eight projects worth $37 million for the Rota airport were among the many multi-million projects outlined in CPA’s Strategic Planning report issued Monday.

CPA executive director Christopher S. Tenorio said the Strategic Planning outlines what the staff and management have identified as priorities that CPA will pursue over the next four years.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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