Monday, March 24, 2014

Cape Air flights to Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands cancelled until March 29th - ‘Technical issue’ scuttle regular flights

All Cape Air flights from Guam to Saipan and Rota have been cancelled until March 29, following a “technical issue,” according to a statement yesterday by United Airlines, which operates the flights.

United Airlines spokeswoman Regine Lee said that United “has decided to operate an extra flight with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft every day until March 29 to make arrangements for the affected customers to complete their journeys.”

She said the extra flight is scheduled to depart Guam daily at 7:30pm as flight UA1746 and set to arrive on Saipan at 8:10pm. Then, the flight will depart Saipan at 8:55pm and arrive in Guam at 10:52pm with a short stop on Rota.

Cape Air, the only carrier now servicing travelers from the CNMI to neighboring Guam has reportedly been experiencing delays in its regular flights since Friday due to what was described as “maintenance check.”

Saipan Tribune learned this from sources who also disclosed that Cape Air’s lone ATR-42 aircraft made an emergency landing Friday at the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport runway at past 2pm.

At least two customers affected by the delayed flights confirmed the sudden changes in their flight schedules.

One customer who was supposed to return to Rota by Saturday had to wait for the company’s other aircraft and her departure was rescheduled for Sunday.

Another customer traveling to Guam who had a confirmed schedule for Sunday was also rescheduled to today, Tuesday.

Saipan Tribune learned that the temporary delay in the carrier’s regular flights was a result of the maintenance check needed for its ATR-42—the sole aircraft being used to transport passengers to Rota and Guam and vice versa.

It was the middle of last year when Cape Air resumed daily fights to Rota from a four-times-a-week schedule. Since early this month, Cape Air has been the only carrier providing air service to Rota after Freedom Air stopped flying on March 8 when the airline’s aviation insurance expired.