GUAM—Last week, Japan Airlines doubled its daily flights from Narita to Guam, making good its commitment last December to offer two daily flights beginning March 25, 2018.
According to Guam Visitors Bureau president and CEO Nathan Denight, JAL’s announcement is major news for Guam’s tourism industry.
“It will bring much needed airline seat capacity from Japan. It also sends a confident and positive message to the Japanese travel industry that Guam continues to be a safe, peaceful, and family friendly destination,” he said.
“We look forward to achieving more results for the people of Guam through this partnership among GVB, the Governor’s Office, Guam International Airport Authority, and Guam Economic Development Authority,” he added.
Narita to Guam flights have been hit hard due to the pullout of Delta Air Lines effective Jan. 8. United Airlines started to cut flights from Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka and Nagoya and Sendai flights to Guam have ceased effective April 1. Both carriers attributed the pullout and flight cuts to weak demand on those routes.
GBV public information officer Josh Tyquienco said that Japan Airlines’ decision to add a second daily flight to Guam was a result of the strategic and collaborative effort among the Guam Visitors Bureau, Guam International Airport Authority, and Guam Economic Development Agency.
“The additional flight helps with seating capacity from Japan to Guam. The flight is scheduled through October 2018 and will provide over 50,000 more seats to Guam on a 767 aircraft. GVB continues to meet with its current airline partners, as well as potential carriers, to encourage more flights to Guam,” he added.
The CNMI faces similar challenges as Delta ends flights to Saipan and Palau effective May 8. The Japanese market will have to go through Guam or Incheon, Korea to reach Saipan after Delta ceases to operate its direct route from Narita to Saipan.
In a statement, Hiroko Okada, from the corporate communications department of Delta Air Lines, attributed this decision to “unsustainable pressure,” including lower demand, in the Micronesia market.
In an earlier interview, Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion said that they are aggressively working with a number of airlines that have expressed an interest in taking over the route.
“We are also hopeful for a brighter future with the shift in market dynamics happening today. The [low-cost carrier] revolution is spreading like wildfire around the world, and going forward we foresee this trend picking up quickly in the Marianas and Micronesia, given that Japan is essentially a short-haul, three-hour flight from the CNMI,” he said.