Star Marianas raises rates for Rota flights


The only airline serving Rota jacked up its prices last week, causing passengers to pay more even as a senator pleads to the airline to lessen airfare rates.

Star Marianas Inc., which is based on Tinian, increased last week its prices serving the Rota-Guam and Rota-Saipan roundtrip routes to $260 and $250, respectively. The previous airfare rates serving the Rota-Saipan route was at $230 roundtrip and discounted to $210 roundtrip if booked online.

Saipan Tribune attempted to contact the airlines at its listed phone number yesterday afternoon, but to no avail. In a statement to Saipan Tribune, Sen. Teresita A. Santos (R-Rota) said several of her constituents phoned her about the “abrupt and astronomical” increase in airfare rates.

“While the people of Rota applaud Star Marianas’ additional flights [serving Rota to Saipan and vice versa], the unanticipated increase raises serious concerns as it incurs financial burden on our travelling public,” she said.

“As a result, we ask Star Marianas to reconsider the fare increase as it is not for our traveling public’s best interests,” she continued.

Santos noted that she is looking forward to discussing this issue with the airlines soon.

Rota Legislative Delegation chair Sen. Steve K. Mesngon (R-Rota), along with Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) declined to comment on the airfare hike.

Manglona did state, however, that he would be meeting with both the Commonwealth Ports Authority and Star Marianas to address “issues.”

“We will continue to meet with the airlines on transportation issues; flight frequency and reliability; and CPA matters that are affecting the airlines so that we can discuss the various issues,” he told Saipan Tribune in a phone call.

Manglona, like Santos, stated that he has also received information from his constituents regarding the increase in airfare rates servicing Rota to Guam and Saipan.

Rota is solely relying on Star Marianas to provide their air transportation needs since Cape Air Express, under United Airlines, pulled out when the latter severed ties with the former in Micronesia.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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