Marianas Pacific, a start-up airline that is aiming to create a Saipan-Australia route, aims to begin providing flights from Saipan to Brisbane and Sydney as early as the first quarter of 2022.
During the Marianas Visitors Authority’s monthly board meeting yesterday, Marianas Pacific’s Bill Giles and James Blake updated the board on its progress in launching the Saipan-based airline that will provide daily flights from Saipan to Brisbane, Sydney, South Korea, and Japan.
Giles said that Marianas Pacific will officially become a limited liability company early next year but could possibly start providing services to the public as early as December if a Travel Bubble is established before then.
“It’s probably going to be the first quarter of next year before we get on a normal, LLC situation. We could do a wet lease and we could start up much faster. If we get more support in a Travel Bubble, then we could probably start up in December. Until we are running as our own LLC airline, a bubble is the way to go. If we can pull one off, we can bring these people soon,” he said.
Giles said the Australia side of Marianas Pacific has already started working on establishing a Travel Bubble.
“Back in May, we started working on bubbles with Australia. We do have a number of really good connections there. We have actually sent a transcript to the prime minister’s office and a couple of other high level, high ranking people in Australia to get us on board,” he said.
For MVA’s part, the board has unanimously voted to establish an Australian Travel Bubble ad-hoc committee—a temporary committee designed specifically to aid in the launch of the Australian Travel Bubble in the CNMI.
Blake said Marianas Pacific is confident in the success of an Australian Travel Bubble at this time because with COVID-19 cases on the rise in many popular Australian destinations, Saipan’s low COVID-19 count makes it an ideal destination for those ready and eager to travel.
“We have a massive market of people who are desperate to travel internationally and I think we are bursting at the seams to go overseas to a holiday destination. There’s almost 2 million people from Australia that have almost nowhere to go right now where they would normally go to Bali and Thailand but they can’t and won’t right now, which leaves Saipan as a primary opportunity to get people to come up here,” he said.
Marianas Pacific aims to start off with three Boeing-757s with two flights a week to Japan, two to South Korea, a daily flight to Clark, the Philippines, and Brisbane and Sydney, Australia.
“That’s 162 economy class passengers and 20 business class passengers. We will also be able to operate the aircrafts with a full payload of cargo. This brings about a whole new opportunity in its own right because of the opportunity to import perishable goods, particularly from Australia,” Blake said.
Marianas Pacific aims to bring in 140,000 passengers in its first year of operations.