Star Marianas suspends flights

Emergency flight services still OK

Star Marianas Air, Inc. is temporarily suspending its interisland flight services beginning Friday, April 3, but cargo and medical evacuation flights will continue.

According to Star Marianas president Shaun Christian in a statement, they will temporarily suspend their scheduled flight services between the islands until such time that the provision of scheduled services becomes helpful to serving those communities.

This was in response to a request from Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and Rota and Tinian mayors Efraim M. Atalig and Edwin P. Aldan for the interisland passenger flights to be suspended to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Star [Marianas] will continue to provide 24-hour emergency flight services for patient transfers and other transportation needs to support control efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. Star [Marianas] will also continue to provide interisland air cargo services between the islands in the CNMI and Guam,” Christian said.

Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds described Star Marianas Air’s decision as a “clear indication” of the recognition of the seriousness of this situation and how critical it is for everyone in the CNMI, public and private, to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Christian said that CHCC has been so successful at persuading the public to stay home that it has “resulted in the demand for interisland travel to fall to near zero.” He said they will provide updated information about the flight suspension to the public from time to time as conditions evolve.

Christian assured that additional service will be provided, as needed, to continue to support Rota’s needs for transportation as conditions improve.

King-Hinds said Tinian and Rota are highly vulnerable communities, given the limited capabilities of their health clinics.

“Preventing and containing the spread of COVID-19 is all of our business and I thank Star Marianas Air for making the right choice and doing their part,” King-Hinds said.

Star Marianas Air earlier suspended all passenger flights between Guam and Rota, when the quarantine requirement for passengers entering the CNMI was put in effect.

Atalig has also made an urgent request to the governor to close all ports of entry for passenger travel into Rota.

United Airlines earlier granted Torres’ request to suspend all its flights into and out of the CNMI from Guam. United will suspend flights from April 6 to 30, 2020.

CPA notified the public Tuesday that the last United Airlines’ flight into and out of the CNMI from Guam will be this Sunday, April 5.

Skymark Airlines Inc.’s last flights between Saipan and Japan were last March 25, temporarily closing the CNMI’s door to international flights. The suspension of the flights will be until May 10, 2020.


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