Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 20 Jul 2018 12am

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    Thursday, July 19, 2018-5:24:13P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Jin Air to provide Japan-Saipan charter flights

JIN Air, which suspended its Incheon, South Korea-Saipan flight service in March, will resume its operation on Saipan.

This time, the low-cost carrier will provide Narita, Japan-Saipan charter flights from Aug. 1 to 26.

 “We want to reestablish the Japan market to the CNMI after Delta Air Lines stopped its direct flights,” Jin Air regional manager for Saipan Honggyu “Ben” Hur told Variety on Thursday.

For its charter flights, Jin Air will depart Narita at 10 a.m. and arrive on Saipan at 3 p.m., local time. The Saipan flight to Narita leaves at 4:20 p.m. “We have a daily flight for the charter-flight program,” Hur said.

From July 21 to Oct. 28, Jin Air will also provide Narita-Guam charter flights. Jin Air will use its Boeing 737 aircraft with 189 seats for the charter flights, Hur said.

Depending on the economic situation, he said Jin Air may consider regular flight service on the Narita-Saipan route.

The Marianas Visitors Authority and the Commonwealth Ports Authority have been very supportive of the upcoming charter flights, Hur said.

At present, Jin Air provides daily flights from South Korea to Guam. For Saipan, it plans to resume its Icheon-Saipan flights by October next year

The Icheon-Saipan flights were suspended because of the “high operational cost” in the CNMI compared to Guam, Hur said.

Hur said Jin Air is hoping that CPA will provide incentives that can reduce the airlines’ operational costs, including landing fees.

In a statement, MVA Managing Director Chris Concepcion said they have been working with their partners in Japan and the CNMI to make new flights happen.

“We have a flight arriving from Nagoya tomorrow [Friday]. And we have about 30 flights arriving from Tokyo-Narita beginning Aug. 1.,” he said.

Concepcion said MVA has been working closely with Jin Air, Jeju Air and Asiana Airlines which are operating lights from Japan to Saipan.

MVA has provided direct marketing support to its partners to attract visitors from Japan, he said, adding that  Japan will always remain a pillar of the CNMI tourism industry.

“So these [charter] flights are a much needed boost.  Until we get regular scheduled service from the new airline planning to operate out of Tokyo to the CNMI we must tighten our belts as arrivals from Japan will be reduced as expected,” he said.

 “It’s been incredibly stressful the past couple years, but we remain very optimistic about the future of this beloved market because of the new service expected soon.”