5 Sep 2011

CNMI eyes flag carrier to serve key markets

1:22 pm on 5 September 2011

The Fitial administration in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariannas is planning on investing in a multimillion-dollar airline which could serve as the CNMI's flag carrier.

If the plan, which involves partnership with private companies, doesn't materialise, the Acting Governor Eloy Inos indicated that at the very least the Fitial administration will push for a privately owned carrier with government backing to directly fly tourists to the CNMI.

Mr Inos says that having an airline to bring in direct flights from key Asian markets is also key to establishing a casino industry on Saipan.

He says the government could also look to lease an aircraft or two for the planned carrier.

The government can award a flag carrier preferential rights or privileges for international operations, giving it a competitive advantage against other airlines.

Currently, the CNMI has Asiana Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Fly Guam as official signatory airlines.

Charter flights, meanwhile, are being serviced by China Southern, Air China, and Shanghai Airlines.