Skymark Airlines Inc. representative director and president Masahiko Ichie is set to visit Saipan next week and the Marianas Visitors Authority is getting ready to play host.
MVA board chair Marian Aldan-Pierce said that Ichie will be visiting Saipan as part of a plan to feature the CNMI in Skymark’s December in-flight magazine.
Aldan-Pierce noted that Ichie will be meeting with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for a joint interview that will be featured in the airline’s magazine.
“We met with executives of Skymark and we are very positive that they will launch [daily flights] soon, based on all the activities that they have done in the past several months,” she said.
There is no official word yet on when Skymark will launch the daily flights, but Aldan-Pierce believes that Skymark is fully committed as they continue to bring in different executive teams weekly to get settled on Saipan.
“Skymark Airlines already has an operations office personalized at the airport, so that shows us that they will be coming,” she said.
With Saipan set to become Skymark’s first international route, Aldan-Pierce said the airline is being cautious before launching daily flights to Saipan in order to avoid any technical glitches.
The airline currently flies to over 150 domestic destinations in Japan. Aldan-Pierce sees this as a great opportunity to expose the CNMI to Japan.
She said that the MVA board has always taken the position to rebuild the Japanese market after losing Japan Airlines back in 2005. She said Skymark’s charter flights to Saipan is a glimpse of its international flights.
Skymark will be sending three charter flights to Saipan, from Sept. 20 to Sept. 22. Each flight is fully booked and MVA expects each flight to have 180 passengers.
MVA hopes that Skymark would begin its regular, daily flight to Saipan in November
MVA deputy managing director Judy Torres said that MVA is spearheading promotional events in Japan in order to maintain the CNMI’s presence as a tourist destination.