9 Sep 2009

Asiana Airlines threatens to pull CNMI to South Korea daytime flights

10:35 am on 9 September 2009

Asiana Airlines has threatened to pull out its daytime flights between Saipan and South Korea's Incheon this month.

But it been assured by the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands government that it will find ways to subsidize its operations.

Asiana is the only international airline providing direct flight service between Saipan to South Korea, the second major market of the local tourism industry.

An airline official, Woo San Kim, has written to the Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Perry Tenorio, saying that market outlook is looking very harsh and Asiana considered

withdrawing daytime flights from the Incheon-Saipan route from September the first until the end of the year.

Mr San says the global economic downturn has thrown the airline industry into turmoil.

He has asked the CNMI to provide financial support for marketing and promotional expenses to sustain flights continuously.

In his response, Mr Tenorio indicated that the CNMI is willing to help Asiana maintain the Saipan-Incheon route.