On Friday, May 18, 2018, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Skymark Airlines officially agreed to launch direct flights between the CNMI and Japan during the upcoming winter schedule.
Skymark Airlines is Japan’s third largest carrier headquartered at Haneda Airport in Tokyo and will be the first Japan-based carrier in the CNMI since 2005, when Japan Airlines closed its Saipan office.
“I am pleased to announce that Skymark Airlines will be launching flights between Japan and Saipan later this year,” Torres said.
This marks a monumental breakthrough for the Japan tourism market for several reasons.
Importantly, Torres said, this marks the re-entry of a Japan-based carrier to the CNMI, marking a significant achievement in the CNMI’s historic relations with Japan
“We have committed to fully support Skymark’s flights and will look to them as our long-term partner for the Japan market,” Torres said.
Torres recognized and thanked the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, and various community partners for their collaboration during the process.
“I thank MVA, CPA, and our other agencies for their due diligence in ensuring Skymark’s investments in the CNMI will be protected to ensure long-term viability of their flights. I also want to thank the Consulate Office of Japan and our business community, particularly our longtime Japanese companies and partners for their collaboration and advice. The CNMI commits our full support to Skymark as they establish the Tokyo-Saipan route as their first regular scheduled flight outside Japan. This will be an exciting addition for our islands moving forward,” Torres added.
In late February, Torres and MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion met with several Japan market stakeholders to underscore the importance of the historical Japan market and the plans to revitalize it moving forward. In early May, Torres disclosed the progress in the talks between the CNMI and Skymark Airlines. This resulted with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Torres and Skymark Airines president Masahiko Ichie on Friday evening.
“We are pleased to welcome president and representative director Mr. Ichie and executive director and executive officer Mr. Motohashi to the Marianas. We are excited about their plans for the CNMI and look forward to a very fruitful partnership in the years ahead. The Marianas Visitors Authority offers our full support to Skymark Airlines. We anticipate a flight launch later this year so we are very excited,” Concepcion said.
“Our community is making great strides, and I will make sure we will continue to leverage the resources we have for the Japanese market for a more diverse visitor market. We are excited about this partnership with Skymark for our community moving forward,” Torres said.
“The MVA thanks Gov. Torres and his administration for their continual support of the Japan market and of MVA’s ongoing efforts to create a diverse visitor pool. Their commitment to utilize all available resources to revitalize this key market is welcome news for all of us here in The Marianas,” Concepcion added. (PR)