The House of Representatives unanimously supported last Friday a representative’s call to urge the Commonwealth Ports Authority to approve a Chinese airline’s request to fly to Saipan.
The House passed Rep. Joseph “Lee Pan” Guerrero’s (R-Saipan) House Resolution 20-19, with amendments, to urge CPA to approve the request for services of China Eastern Airlines to provide air transportation services between the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport and the Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
Citing the recent pullout of U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines, Guerrero said through the resolution that the tourism industry as well as the overall economy would take a toll if nothing is done about it.
Delta, which was Saipan’s sole connection to Narita, Japan for 29 years, is pulling out its services to Saipan starting May 6, 2018. By losing the Narita-Saipan route, those who want to go to and from Japan must first pass through South Korea or Hong Kong.
H.R. 20-19, HD1 supports China Eastern Airlines and its request to offer regular flights to and from Saipan.
The airline, according to the resolution, is one of China’s major air transportation groups out of three and is headquartered in Shanghai. The airline holds one of the youngest fleets in the world by operating over 600 aircrafts with an average aircraft age of less than five and a half years and it offers flights regularly to the mainland U.S., such as the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, and the Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii to Shanghai, China.
“…Through their extended global network, China Eastern Airlines is able to connect travelers to 1,052 destinations in 177 countries,” states the resolution, adding that the airline’s Pasadena, California office has expressed an interest in doing business in the CNMI.
Besides its economic benefits, the resolution also noted that the decision to approve the request would also affect employees of the soon-to-withdraw Delta Air Lines.