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    Saturday, October 20, 2018-4:08:48P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Cape Air pulls out of Rota

SENATORS Teresita Santos and Paul Manglona  are asking Cape Air/United Airlines to reconsider its decision to end its  Rota flight service.

United Airlines has announced that effective June 1, it will use a Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 166 seats for its mainline service between Guam and Saipan.

 However, the Cape Air United Express service for the Guam-Saipan-Rota route will be discontinued effective May 31.

“While I applaud United Airlines’ decision to use a bigger fleet to service Saipan-Guam/Guam-Saipan route, it comes as a shock to learn about its devastating decision to discontinue [its] Guam/Rota/Saipan…route effective June 1, 2018,” Santos said.

“Not only will such a drastic decision greatly affect our limited air passenger service into the island of Rota, but will also greatly impact our economic development, including the loss of jobs for those who are currently employed by Cape Air United Express, tourism and potential developments,” she added.

“Consequently, on behalf of the people and leaders of Rota, I strongly appeal to United Airlines to reconsider its decision as the consequences of such a decision will negatively impact our island based on the aforementioned reasons.

“Further, it is highly recommended that the leaders of Rota meet with United Airlines so we can address the matter at the soonest time available, and ensure continuity of air passenger service to Rota. Needless to say, but even with Cape Air, Star Marianas and Artic Circle presently providing air passenger service to Rota, customers always encounter…lack of [plane] seats…. For this reason, Rota cannot afford for Cape Air to discontinue service as it will be economically devastating to Rota,” the senator said.

In his letter to United Airlines managing director Sam Shinohara, Manglona said the “leaders of Rota and the CNMI are pursuing new avenues to promote tourism on Rota but with one less airline company servicing the island, our efforts to bring tourists to the island will be hindered.”

He added that the residents of Rota “will be greatly affected by the discontinuance of Cape Air’s flight service. Rota has benefitted from Cape Air’s flights service since 2005. Not only did it create jobs on the island, but the tourism industry was able to stay afloat.”

United Airlines said  launching a mainline service between Guam and Saipan is part of its incoming 50th anniversary operation.

United Air international network planning vice president Patrick Quayle said the decision was made based on customer feedback.

“Many have asked for aircraft that offer mainline amenities and comfort and a fleet type that can operate more reliably regardless of Western Pacific weather conditions. We are confident the new daily 737 service will provide our customers in Guam and Saipan with a better experience,” Quayle said.

The new mainline service to Saipan will depart Guam daily at 7 a.m. and arrive here at 7:45 a.m. The return flight will depart Saipan at 8:45 a.m. and arrive on Guam at 9:30 a.m.