MARIANAS SOUTHERN AIRWAYS
‘Our success will be the community's success’
Following the successful launch of Marianas Southern Airways services connecting the Northern Mariana Islands, the airlines’ president, Keith Stewart, has spoken about the benefits the fledgling carrier will bring to the CNMI.
“We commenced operations today with three new twin engine Tecnam aircraft that bring state-of-the-art safety and reliability to CNMI travel,” said Stewart. “These aircraft are new off the production line and offer individual air-conditioning controls, a cup holder and a USB charge port at each seat, according to Stewart. “We plan to add another three or four Tecnam’s to the fleet over the next year, which will provide the opportunity to offer direct flights between Rota and Guam and Tinian and Guam, as well as adding more frequency to our schedules” he added.
Stewart said that reliable air transportation is vital for the CNMI economy. It provides the city-pair connections that serve as virtual bridges between the islands to support a healthy flow of key economic activities. Air service facilitates links between businesses, governments, and people, enabling trade, investment, tourism, and travel—not to mention critically important health care accessibility for people living in rural communities, according to Stewart.
Bill Giles, MSA’s vice president CNMI/Guam, said that “having a comprehensive route network is essential to the long-term success of the airline.” The initial offering will include over 90 weekly flights serving Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Guam. “Importantly, within the next three months the airline plans to offer same-day connectivity to Saipan with United’s Honolulu-Guam flight, thereby avoiding an unnecessary overnight stay in Guam and, through joint venture partner Southern Airways interline agreement with United Airlines, the ability to make a seamless reservation from Tinian, Rota, or Saipan to anywhere in the United network,” said Giles.
Stewart added that the airline is also exploring the reopening of services to Pagan to enable the development of the unique tourism opportunities afforded by that island. As the world recovers from the COVID pandemic, he is adamant that it is critically important to ensure that the CNMI has a reliable, reputable, and efficient airline operating between the islands and that each island has the air connectivity they need to support tourism.
Giles is proud to state that the new airline has been able to offer employment to over 20 people on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, and that the pending construction of a state-of-the-art hangar facility at the Saipan airport will provide a much-needed local aircraft maintenance facility and offer further employment opportunities. “We are invested in the CNMI for the long term” said Giles, “and our success will be the community’s success.” (PR)