The Commonwealth Ports Authority stands by a resolution to suspend the entry of new international flights to the CNMI until it receives a response from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In an order issued by CPA executive director Christopher Tenorio yesterday afternoon, he said the suspension will stay “for an indefinite period” until a response is received from USDOT.
The resolution, which the CPA board adopted on June 13, 2017, had said that the suspension of new international flights to the CNMI is for 60 days. The Torres administration and CPA will use the 60 days supposedly to assess the current state of the CNMI’s infrastructures’ capacity to accommodate the rapid increase in visitor arrival.
Tenorio’s directive yesterday emphasized that all airlines approved by USDOT and has met all federal and CPA regulations for air service “need to sign the appropriate airline use agreement.”
Only once the agreement is in place would airlines be allowed to fly in and use the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport, he said.
“Airlines that do not sign and concur with the CPA requirements for the [airline use agreement] may not use the Saipan International Airport facility until such time that there is in place a fully executed and effective [agreement],” the order states.
Without an airline use agreement between the airline and CPA, CPA cannot assure or promise and bears no obligations as to any commitments an airline carrier may make.
“However, CPA shall make best and reasonable efforts to expedite and process all [airline use agreement] applications,” the order adds.
Tenorio’s order came with a set of justifications for its implementation.
He said CPA will confer with USDOT and the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the CNMI government in order to address concerns while ensuring a mutually beneficial approach which is proactive and productive. As such the stay is imposed indefinitely until further notice.”
The CPA executive director’s order was released two days after Beijing Air sued CPA to stop the suspension.
Beijing Air was permitted to fly from China to Saipan by USDOT and CPA before the suspension was issued. It is the sole airline to be affected by the suspension, which will produce cancellation of two fully booked flights that were scheduled to fly to Saipan on June 29, 2017.
Beijing Air has already sold more than 2,000 tickets, including flights for the month of July, after CPA authorized it to fly in.
On June 6, 2017, CPA deputy director Edward Mendiola sent Beijing Air an email saying that CPA was going to implement a temporary ban on all international flights.
In both notices, Beijing Air was not given an explanation why the ban was going to be implemented. Beijing Air also contends that the suspension deprives it of due process.
MD: CPA stands by a resolution to suspend new international flights to the CNMI