A Tinian-based airline cited several factors that prompted it to increase its airfare to Rota, but declined to specify them, saying it’s “complicated and difficult” to explain through email.
Responding to Saipan Tribune inquiries yesterday, Star Marianas Air president Shaun Christian said many factors contributed to the increase in airfare for Rota services but did not further expound on the matter. He did state that Star Marianas has been reaching out to the local government to discuss “issues” in detail.
The airline company is the only one currently flying to Rota ever since United Airlines severed ties with Cape Air Express, which used to service the route.
Several members of the Rota Legislative Delegation stated their concern over the rising cost of airfare to Rota after the airline implemented prices serving the Rota-Guam and Rota-Saipan routes to $260 and $250, respectively, round trip. Previous prices for the Rota-Saipan route were at $230 round trip, with a discounted price of $210 if booked online.
Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota) described the increases as “abrupt and astronomical” since it imposed a “financial burden” on the travelling public from Rota, while Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) and Rota delegation chair Sen. Steve Mesngon (R-Rota) remain mum on the increase.
Manglona did tell Saipan Tribune in a previous interview that he would be meeting with the Commonwealth Ports Authority and Star Marianas on issues pertaining to transportation; flight frequency and reliability; and other matters between the two.
According to a statement from the administration of Ralph DLG Torres, it continues to talk with CPA and other stakeholders to further address air transportation issues.
“Since the pullout of flights from Rota, we remain steadfast in our commitment to seeking reliable transportation services for the island of Rota and the rest of the Marianas. Market pressures always remain an issue, but we continue to be pragmatic in our approach and optimistic in our goal of ensuring that Rota residents will be taken care of,” press secretary Kevin Bautista told Saipan Tribune.