The Commonwealth Ports Authority has been allocated $2,200,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funds through the CNMI central government, strictly for lifting austerity measures, restoring employee hours, and bringing CPA to full operational capacity.
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.
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.
“CPA management and its board of directors are deeply appreciative of the generosity of Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres and the current administration in allocating ARPA funds to restore CPA employees’ work hours,” stated CPA executive director Chris Tenorio. “This funding will enable CPA to be more readily able to maintain, develop, operate, and manage the ports. By enhancing CPA’s ability to accomplish its mission, the CNMI government’s ability to restore the economy and the tourism and travel industries is strengthened.”
The funding allocation also coincides with an expected increase in international flights. “With the recent Travel Bubble arrangement signed between the CNMI government and the Republic of Korea, CPA expects an increase in international flights into the CNMI. Bringing CPA to full operational capacity will increase airport offices’ operational hours and will provide staff additional time to prepare for new international flights.”
On Aug. 17, 2021, CPA received the $2.2 million in ARPA funding. On Aug. 23, 2021, CPA returned to full operational capacity. (PR)