The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) will get its first local airline next year. The new venture, Saipan Air, will bolster tourist arrivals from Japan reports the Saipan Tribune.
Saipan Air plans to launch its first flight on July 1, 2012. It will begin by flying to Narita, Nagoya and Osaka, and executives predict an increase in Japanese arrivals of around 200,000 per annum. Japan supplies the bulk of CNMI’s tourists.
Airline owner and Tan Holdings president Jerry Tan says, “We decided to make this investment to help revive our tourism industry and contribute to the growth of our economy. Stable air service will mean more opportunities for all businesses such as restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and other establishments, more revenues for government, a restoration of 80 work hours, and more jobs for our people. A healthy tourism industry will ensure full economic recovery for the CNMI,” he added.