A ranking official of Skymark Airlines Inc. pronounced himself pleased and impressed with the facilities and the system at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.
John Furuya, the low-cost carrier’s assistant manager, said the safety of their passengers and staff is most important for them and this shows with how organized the Saipan airport is.
“We’re very happy,” said Furuya in an interview during Skymark’s inaugural flight from Narita, Japan to Saipan last Friday.
Furuya said he has been in the aviation business for 30 years and having the CNMI as Skymark’s first international venture is the most important thing in his career and his life.
He said when they were first looking at their options, they also considered other destinations. Furuya said they eventually chose Saipan due to the long historical ties between the CNMI and Japan.
“This destination is very important,” he said, promising that, together with the Marianas Visitors Authority, they intend to promote Saipan in Japan.
Skymark’s inaugural flight last Friday was part of its six-day charter direct flights that will end tomorrow, Wednesday.
Skymark, Japan’s third largest carrier, will launch additional flights to Saipan in April and May for Japanese Golden Week.
Furuya said Skymark is expected to launch their regular daily flights in the summer—in July this year.
Each daily flight, he said, will be carrying 177 passengers, which translates to over 50,000 passengers per year.
With the daily flights, MVA expects a significant increase in arrivals from the slumping Japan market.
Furuya said that last Friday was good for a short jaunt because it’s a spring break holiday in Japan, providing a long weekend.
He said last Friday’s inaugural flight’s package included accommodation for three days and three nights starting at 60,000 yen or about $580.
He said during the peak season, the tour package costs range from 120,000 to 150,000 yen or about $1,200 to $1,500.
Skymark is the first low-cost carrier in Japan. It currently has 150 domestic flights.
The CNMI government and Skymark signed a co-promotional agreement last year that would re-open direct flights between Japan and Saipan.