CPA board approves 50% discount on airport fees

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THE Commonwealth Ports Authority board of directors on Wednesday approved a resolution to grant signatory and non-signatory airlines a 50% discount on enplanement, deplanement and landing fees.

CPA Resolution 2020-006 is effective from July 1 to December 31. The resolution also authorizes CPA Executive Director Christopher Tenorio to amend the discount anytime, to reflect any changed circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Board Chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds, board secretary, Thomas P. Villagomez, board members Barrie Toves, Joseph Diaz and Pete P. Reyes voted yes to the resolution while vice chairman, Roman Tudela abstained.

Tudela wanted to limit the executive director’s flexibility in adjusting the discount by requiring him to seek board approval.

But the other board members said the executive director should have flexibility given these extraordinary circumstances.

The resolution states that CPA has experienced a dramatic reduction in visitor arrivals, and these declines have led to a drastic and immediate decline in airport revenues. CPA recognizes that the operation of international air carriers is crucial to the economic sustainability of  CPA and the entire CNMI and its tourism-based economy.

The Covid-19 global pandemic, the resolution states, has decreased the volume of international traffic at CNMI airports by 96%. The pandemic has significantly affected the profitability of airlines operating in the CNMI, as evidenced by a payment deferral request made by an airline, and has required CPA to implement unpleasant and unavoidable austerity measures.

The resolution further states that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act will ensure revenue bond debt service obligations of CPA will not be affected if certain airport fees and charges are discounted.

CPA must temporarily discount fees to ensure that air services will continue to be provided to the public, that CPA remains solvent, and that CPA can continue the safe operation of its airports, the resolution stated.

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