Group arranges 2nd flight for Koreans on Saipan

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THE Korean Association of Saipan has arranged a second emergency flight for Korean students, businesspersons, and other nationals on island who need to see their doctors in their homeland.

Neung Sik Chang, president of Korean Community of Saipan, said in a phone interview that up to 150 persons can avail themselves of seats for a flight to Korea scheduled for May 27.

He said it will be the second flight their organization has arranged for their fellow Koreans who urgently need to go to Korea.

The first one, he said, was arranged with Asiana Airlines on April 9, and involved 178 Koreans.

Chang said when the first Covid-19 cases were reported here, the Koreans on island who needed to see their doctors in Korea wanted to leave the island, but they could not do so because of suspension of flights.

This prompted the Korean Association of Saipan to reach out to airlines and arrange charter flights. Both Asiana and Jeju agreed to provide flights conditioned upon the availability of an adequate number of passengers.

The passengers paid for their airfare, but Chang said the association was able to negotiate a discounted price.

Commonwealth Ports Authority Chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds said a Jeju Air plane will arrive on May 27 for a “ferry-in, live-out” flight.

She said CPA has not received any official or unofficial communication that Jeju Air will be terminating its flight service to Saipan.

But, she added, “given the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry, most especially on the airline operators, it would not be shocking if terminating services to Saipan is being considered by Jeju Air.”

“With that said, it is our hope that isn't the case. We value their partnership and the continuance of having an air bridge between the CNMI and Korea.  CPA is always ready and willing to work with all our partners to find a way to get through these unprecedented times together,” King-Hinds said.

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