Inaugural flight of Skymark tomorrow

Torres, Skymark president to welcome arrival of 1st charter flight

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres will lead CNMI officials in welcoming the historic inaugural flight tomorrow, Friday, of Skymark Airlines Inc., which will launch daily direct charter flights from Tokyo to Saipan until Wednesday, March 27.

“The CNMI will be Skymark’s first international destination so this is a huge deal for them and us,” Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Christopher Attao Concepcion told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

Skymark is the first Japanese carrier to operate flights to Saipan since Japan Airlines withdrew from the CNMI market in 2005.

Torres, Skymark president and representative director Masahiko Ichie, and Concepcion will hold a press conference at the Skymark check-in counter at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport shortly after the arrival of the first flight at 3:30pm.

Members of the Legislature, MVA, and the Commonwealth Ports Authority board of directors will also be present at the press conference.

MVA staff, three cultural performers, 2018 Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera, and MVA’s Marianas-chan Jebro John Leon will greet the passengers of the inaugural flight. Leon is MVA’s mini ambassador to Japan.

Concepcion said they are very excited with the launching of charter flights from Tokyo.

“It’s been a while since we’ve seen direct flight service from Japan so the entire tourism industry is thrilled with Skymark’s entry into the market,” Concepcion said.

Securing direct air service from Japan by Skymark was the biggest MVA projects that outgoing MVA managing director Concepcion had successfully completed.

Concepcion said through his relations with airline industry professional in Japan they were able to meet the Skymark team and work closely with them as they planned these flights months ago.

“We see nothing but long-term success for all of us. We welcome Skymark to the CNMI family,” he said.

Concepcion earlier disclosed that it was through his personal relations with airline industry executives in Japan, and direct negotiations with Skymark executives, that the CNMI was finally able to convince Japan’s third largest carrier to launch flights to the CNMI.

Skymark, will also launch additional flights in April and May for Japanese Golden Week.

Skymark is expected to launch their regular scheduled flights in July.

MVA expects a slight increase in arrivals from Japan after these initial flights commence.

When daily flights launch in July, MVA believes there will be a significant increase in arrivals from Japan.

Skymark donated 3 million in Japanese yen or about $30,000 to MVA for the CNMI’s recovery efforts from Super Typhoon Yutu’s devastation.

The CNMI government and Skymark had signed a co-promotional agreement that would re-open direct flights between Japan and Saipan.
Skymark is the first low-cost carrier in Japan. It is also the only carrier that offers domestic flights based at Haneda International Airport in Ota, Tokyo.

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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