Skymark ‘eager to resume Saipan-Japan flights’


The Commonwealth Ports Authority’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting special unit renders a water salute over the Skymark Airline plane during its inaugural daily direct flight from Tokyo, Japan, at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport last Nov. 29. (FERDIE DE LA TORRE)

Skymark Airlines Inc. is eager to resume Japan-Saipan flights once everything is “clear” from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Skymark official yesterday.

Skymark International Flight Operation Office assistant general manager John Furuya said it was unfortunate that they had to extend their suspension for the Narita-Saipan flights until May 31, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email to Saipan Tribune’s inquiry about the extension of the flight suspension, Furuya also disclosed that they are currently operating only about a third of their available seat capacity in Japan domestically.

He said they are following the most up-to date guidelines from Japanese authorities and adapting their services to meet the public needs in the safest way possible.

“Needless to say, not only the aviation industry, but everyone has been hit hard by COVID-19,” Furuya said. He said many airline service companies and industrial partners are being forced to furlough or lay off workers everywhere in the world. Some are facing the prospect of shutting down operations completely.

Furuya said they are watching for an opportunity to come back to Saipan/CNMI “once the day has come.”

Skymark’s last flights between Saipan and Japan were last March 25. The company’s original plan was for the suspension to last only until May 10, 2020. Over the weekend, Skymark announced their decision to extend the suspension of all flight operations between Narita and Saipan until May 31, noting the decreased travel demand and the enforcement of quarantine measures by the CNMI and Japanese governments.

Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds said Skymark’s decision was foreseeable, given the circumstances.

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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