Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Saipan: 2 JAL charter flights in December

Japanese tourists were flown to the island by Japan Air Lines in late December.

CNMI Honorary Tourism Ambassador and Pacific Eagle Enterprises Inc. vice president Aya Matsumoto told Variety that Japan Air Lines had charter flights to Saipan on Dec. 27 and 31.

Matsumoto said she was pleased that JAL was able to provide this service for the route in December.

“We hope that we can have more flights,” said Matsumoto.

JAL stopped operating its direct regular flights to Saipan on Oct. 4, 2005.

JAL used to offer daily flights from Narita and from Kansai area with a combined capacity of 182,000 seats.

It was reported previously that the estimated impact of the JAL pullout was a $36.7 million decline in government revenues with the loss of about 2,550 jobs.

Matsumoto said the continued lack of flights from Japan has been a major challenge.

“Many tourists would like to come here,” she said.

Matsumoto has been living in the islands for more than two decades.

She and her husband Willie first came here as newlywed tourists before they decided to set up their business and live here.

Matsumoto left Saipan for a couple of years then came back recently.

“Willie and I just came back recently,” she said adding that this has been their home.

But Matsumoto said that the CNMI badly needs additional flights coming from Japan, especially the Kansai area.

She said she is thankful to Delta Air Lines for continuing to provide service to Saipan.

She said there was a time when another airline, ANA, used to provide direct flight service to Saipan; however, it too pulled out a year after.

Matsumoto pointed out that the lack of available hotel rooms has been discouraging tourists from coming.

Some, she said, are not aware where Saipan is.

She said there should be more promotional materials, especially in the Kansai area.

Matsumoto will continue to promote the islands to the Japan market. She said she is optimistic that the current slump will not last long.

Source:   http://www.mvariety.com

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