United Airlines Saipan receives accolades for excellent safety protocols


United Airlines and POI Aviation staff are recognized for their achievements in safety through a Safety Excellence Achievement ceremony held yesterday at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport. (KIMBERLY B. ESMORES)

United Airlines reps journeyed to Saipan to personally recognize United Airlines sector Saipan and POI Aviation for its excellence in carrying out United’s intensive list of safety requirements.

Yesterday, United Airlines representatives held a Safety Excellence Achievement ceremony at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport to celebrate United Airlines Saipan and POI Aviation’s accomplishments in ensuring that each flight aboard United Airlines is a safe one.

United Airlines and POI Saipan were awarded the silver and gold achievement awards for their hard work.

Sam Shinohara, managing director of Airport Operations for Asia Pacific at United Airlines, said United Airlines celebrates safety and throughout the pandemic, the Saipan sector has done an exceptional job of maintaining United’s standards.

“Today we’re here to celebrate Safety Excellence achievement for the Saipan station. In United Airlines, we celebrate safety. There is a rigorous process to achieve Safety Excellence at United Airlines and we are awarding Saipan both the silver award as well as the gold award, because they achieved two awards during the pandemic. We weren’t able to come and celebrate the silver, but they still continued on the path toward gold. They were able to achieve that two months ago,” he said

Shinohara explained that it is no easy feat to achieve these accolades.

“There’s a bunch of audits. First thing is there’s a curriculum that they have to follow. That’s ensuring that every touchpoint with respect to the customer is done on a safe basis, and all of the safety protocols that we have in place, are consistently followed. So that’s number one, whether that is upstairs at the check-in counter, or at the gates, or on the ramp below the wing, where we’re loading the freight and cargo onto the airplane, they should be following those processes,” he said.

“Including simple things like making sure everybody’s always wearing their seatbelts, everybody is doing a safety briefing before we have meetings, ensuring that fire extinguishers are working, ensuring that the airport has a good safety program, that facility items, whether they’re trip hazards, or safety risk issues with electrical outlets, making sure those are addressed on a timely basis. There’s a 100-point checklist that everybody has to go through and the team has done a great job doing that,” he added.

Despite the extensive checklist, POI and United Saipan were able to accomplish such an achievement.

“It’s a great achievement. I’m really proud of the team. Dave Baker and the POI team, I’m really proud of them, because it takes a lot of hard work. COVID has certainly made life much more challenging with all of the extra protocols we had to put in place. So you layer the COVID protocols on top of our existing safety protocols and you’re in a world of extra work. And so for that, I’m super proud of the team. I think it’s a great achievement, especially during this time,” he said.

Meanwhile, POI Aviation president and CEO Jerry Tan said if not for the hard work of everyone employed with POI Saipan, this achievement would not have been possible.

“It’s really important for any passenger to feel safe when you are flying. For POI to be recognized for achieving Safety Excellence, this is one of the reasons why POI has been highly successful as one of our strategic business units within Tan Holdings. Without you guys, we would not be able to achieve so many awards,” he said.

“They make me look good when actually, I really don’t do much. They’re the ones who actually work hard every day at operations. As a frequent traveler, I do actually go in and out of the airport and see all of them in action and I am really, really proud of the POI team,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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