Torres: Skymark, PAL still interested


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said Friday that Skymark Airlines Inc. and Philippine Airlines are still interested in resuming their direct flights between Saipan-Japan and Saipan-Philippines. 

Speaking at the KKMP radio press briefing, Torres said he did not talk to Skymark directly, but that a third party informed him that there is a strong interest by Skymark to resume their Saipan-Japan direct flights.

The governor said Skymark has challenges domestically but once they figured them out and things moved forward, he was informed that Saipan is still their No. 1 destination if they got out internationally.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, Skymark suspended its Saipan-Narita, Narita-Saipan operations starting in March 2020.

Skymark is reportedly now focusing on stabilizing their domestic operations and rebuilding their financial resources after losing millions over the last two years.

Skymark made its inaugural daily direct flight from Tokyo to Saipan on Nov. 29, 2019. Primarily a domestic airline in Japan, Saipan was Skymark’s first regular international flight. 

With respect to Philippine Airlines, Torres said when he last spoke to them, they are looking into the numbers and more information about the medical/referral patients from Saipan.

“But the fact that they are interested, they are committed,” he said. 

The governor said pertaining to the workforce, the CNMI needs a lot of workers especially in the construction industry. 

He said there are also enough Filipino tourists to come to Saipan and enjoy the CNMI as well.

“So they are working on that. And then of course,  you can also include cargo,” Torres added. 

The governor said every opportunity  to enhance  CNMI’s tourist destination with other partners is better  for all.

“The more airlines, the more destinations that are interested, the more we should look into programs to create and give that opportunity,” he said.

PAL Express Manila-Saipan flights resumed operations in June 2016, or after close to 20 years. In March 2017, due to lack of demand, PAL downgraded its service to seasonal flights as opposed to the former weekly flights. PAL eventually stopped flying the route either in 2017 or 2018. 

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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