The CNMI remains the only jurisdiction within the United States that imposes tariffs on aircraft parts through the assessment of beautification taxes, according to Star Marianas Air president Shaun R. Christian.
Christian also stated that the Commonwealth Ports Authority has not made them aware of any incentive program available to the company and continues to charge the maximum passenger facility charges allowable.
Christian said the fuel tax incentive is only applicable to international flights and jet fuel, not interisland flights and Aviation Gas.
The tariff and the lack of an incentive program were the issues that Christian brought up in response to Sen. Teresita A. Santos’ (Ind-Rota) appeal to Star Marianas Air to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Rota by lowering its airfare during these difficult financial times.
Santos recently asked Christian in a letter to help the people of Rota because of the CNMI’s current financial state and the imminent austerity and budget cuts.
She told Christian that austerity measures, coupled with the high cost of living on Rota, will financially cripple many families, but most especially their interisland medical referral patients seeking medical attention that is unavailable on the island.
The senator cited that the CPA has adopted an incentive program for airlines that she hopes Star Marianas Air can avail of.
In his reply to the senator’s appeal, Christian said Star Marianas Air will continue to do its best to provide sustainable flight services to Rota.
He said the underlying causes for the austerity measures taken by the government are also having an extreme impact on the profitability of private companies, brought about by the significant loss of visitors to the CNMI.
“STAR is not immune to the loss of passengers and resulting revenue reduction and we are taking every measure we can to reduce costs in order to remain in operation and sustain our current service and prices,” Christian said.