Daytime flights resume

CPA targets re-opening nighttime flights this Tuesday

Volunteers from Northern Marianas Diving Operations Association, POI Aviation, and the Marianas Visitors Authority aid the Commonwealth Ports Authority in clearing trees and debris at Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on Nov. 7, 2018. Closed to regular flights in late October following Super Typhoon Yutu, the airport resumed regular daytime operations yesterday, Nov. 15, 2018. (MVA)

The Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport resumed regular daytime flights yesterday and aims to resume regular nighttime flights this Tuesday, Nov. 20, according to Commonwealth Ports Authority executive director Christopher S. Tenorio.

In a phone interview last night, Tenorio also disclosed that, with the help of volunteers from the tourism industry, CPA has already removed 80 percent of the debris at the airport.

All of the Saipan airports jetways were, however, damaged during Super Typhoon Yutu, so incoming passengers on daytime flights will be using the staircases for now. Tenorio said two staircases were provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Tenorio said they are targeting to resume regular nighttime flights by Nov. 20, Tuesday.

Tenorio said that CPA personnel have been clearing debris from the airport right after Yutu but CPA also hired a contractor for some minor and major debris that needed to be removed.

Tenorio said many volunteers helped CPA’s cleanup yesterday that started at 8am and finished at 6pm.

Dozens of volunteers from the tourism industry assisted CPA’s cleanup drive yesterday to ensure the airport is shipshape following Yutu.

Volunteers from Northern Marianas Diving Operators Association, POI Aviation, and the Marianas Visitors Authority began several days of clearing d the facility.

“The CNMI is tourism islands, and we need guests to come back,” NMDOA president Hitoshi Yamaguchi said.

MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion said that, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency earlier stated, getting businesses and the economy back up is a priority, and that all are looking forward to once again welcoming visitors to the islands.

“Tourism is still the primary economic driver of the Marianas, and the sooner we resume regular tourism operations, the better for businesses, employees, the government, and the community,” he said.

Concepcion thanked industry partners for assisting CPA and to all those helping in many different ways across Saipan and Tinian—for their extra assistance to the government and community during this time of need.

“The progress we are making as a unified community is just tremendous,” he said.
Last year, MVA said the CNMI welcomed nearly 660,000 visitors, primarily from Korea, China, and Japan.

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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