United to cut ties with Cape Air in Micronesia

United Airlines would be severing ties with Cape Air services in Micronesia, following the internal announcement of discontinuing services to Rota from Guam and Saipan.

In response to Saipan Tribune inquiries, United Airlines said in a statement for attribution to corporate communications that they would be ending their “relationship with Cape Air service in Micronesia,” including its five-time daily Guam-Saipan service, as well as the Rota-Guam and Rota-Saipan service, effective May 31, 2018.

Instead, United Airlines would start offering flights between Saipan from Guam using a Boeing 737-800 jet aircraft, which has a capacity of 16 seats in United Business, 42 seats in United Economy Plus, and 108 seats in United Economy.

“The new daily B737-800 jet service will provide our customers in Guam and Saipan with a more reliable and comfortable customer experience. In addition, the new service will offer customers more choices of seats, namely United Business, United Economy Plus or United Economy,” the statement added.

The decision to use a jet is intended to meet customer requests for more comfortable and reliable aircrafts, regardless of weather conditions,.

“We are confident that the new daily B737-800 jet service can provide our customers in Guam and Saipan with a more reliable and comfortable customer experience,” said the statement.

The statement did not indicate flight arrangements United Airlines may have with other airlines.

According to Cape Air chief executive officer Dan Wolf, the Massachusetts-based airline is disturbed by the impact of withdrawing flights from Rota.

As a point of clarification, United Airlines serves Rota from Guam and Saipan through Cape Air United Express. The decision to withdraw flights serving Rota was made by United Airlines.

“We are deeply saddened by this news and the impact it will have on our employees and their families, along with the impact it will have on the communities we have fallen in love with over the past 14 years,” said Wolf in a statement.

“We are incredibly proud and humbled of the amazing operation in Micronesia, from the teams on the ground in Guam, Saipan, and Rota, to the teams assisting from headquarters over 8,000 miles away. We provided exemplary service consistent with our Cape Air values,” he added.

According to the United Airlines statement, the new Saipan-Guam routes would depart Guam at 7am and arrive on Saipan at 7:45am and depart Saipan at 8:45am and arrive in Guam at 9:30am.

United Airlines would contact Cape Air customers who have booked flights past the effective date of June 1, 2018 to “either offer them alternative travel plans with United or provide them with refunds.”

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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