Torres, Cape Air working out a deal


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres recently met with officials of Cape Air with the hopes that the carrier would continue its Saipan-Guam and Rota-Guam flight services.

Cape Air was United Airlines’ partner in operating the Saipan-Guam and Rota-Guam service, but the latter decided to reduce its flights to one a day, which could pose problems especially to the CNMI’s off-island medical referral patients.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re looking at every angle to continue the services between Saipan, Guam, and Rota. Of course, we want to continue the number of services in our islands,” Torres told Saipan Tribune yesterday.

“At the end of the day, we want to see less costs for our constituents. So we continue to work on things. This is our priority. We have a time frame that actually needs to be one of our top priorities. We’re looking at every angle to continue the services,” he added.

United is also ending its years of partnership with Cape Air at the end of the month.

“Obviously, United already said that their partnership with Cape Air ends on May 31. So that’s where their relationship is now. We’re trying to do something on how can we extend the services or to have more number of services, if this is how you put it,” Torres said.

Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muña has also written United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz and president Scott Kirby, urging them to reconsider their decision to reduce the Saipan-Guam daily flights from more than four to one because of medical referral patients.

Other airlines

Torres disclosed earlier that he is in talks with Japanese carrier Skymark Airlines about having flights to Saipan. “I’m happy to say that we partnered with Skymark and I’m looking forward for that fruitful relationship.”

Torres added that they are also scheduled to look into new airline companies where local officials are invited to visit their organization. He, however, did not disclose the name of the airline since the deal is not yet finalized.

“We’re invited to look at what services they could offer to the CNMI. Tourism is our No. 1 resource and our economy here is dependent on them. It is our part to find ways to have continued airline services,” said Torres.

“We must be proactive, and this administration is also prioritizing that. We hope we could have more airlines and more tourists visiting our islands.”

He added that Delta Air Lines’ decision to pull out of Saipan is beyond the CNMI’s control. “Issues like this, when Delta decided to change their portfolio, we absolutely have no control in their decision. It is hard news for us to bear, but we just don’t stop there. We go out and seek other means to bring in new airlines.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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