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    Friday, April 19, 2019-11:45:49A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Group of NMI, Guam lawmakers seeks lower airfare, more flights

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — Lawmakers and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands recently met to discuss cooperative efforts on lobbying for lower-cost airfares and increased flights between the Mariana Islands.

Sens. Wil Castro and Louise Muna met with CNMI Reps. Luis John Castro and Ivan Blanco at Castro’s Sinajana office.

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The Marianas Working Group recently met to discuss ways to reduce airfare costs between the Mariana Islands and increase flight frequency. From left: CNMI Rep. Luis John Castro; CNMI Rep. Ivan Blanco; Sen. Wil Castro; Sen. Louise Muna; and Chirag Bhojwani, chief of staff for Speaker Tina Muña Barnes.  The Guam Daily Post photo

It was the latest in a series of meetings among members of the Marianas Working Group, a creation of former Gov. Eddie Calvo meant to foster closer ties between the CNMI and Guam.

“I’m here to talk about airfare between the CNMI and Guam and frequency of service,” Blanco said.

Only two airlines provide regular service between the islands now, United and Star Marianas. A round-trip fare from Guam to Saipan on United Airlines can be as low as $245 or as high as $547, depending on when you book and when you fly.

Star Marianas runs an island hopper from Guam to Rota and beyond. A one-way fare to Rota from Guam is $130. It costs another $125 to fly on to Saipan. Getting back to Guam adds up to $510.

Castro said the legislators had made arrangements to talk with the general manager of Star Marianas next week about pricing and flight frequency issues.

The group also talked about promoting the growth of breadfruit, sweet potatoes and other plants to help provide food security for the islands. Attracting a cruise liner to provide regular service to the Marianas was another issue on the table.

Castro said, “It’s time for us to come together, to assert ourselves for long-term economic stability and preservation of our cultural values.”

“We’re only a 30-minute plane ride away,” Castro said. “But sometimes when it comes to certain policies, we act like we’re thousands of miles away,” he said.

Speaker Tina Muna Barnes issued a statement thanking the delegation from the CNMI for the trip to Guam.