Jeju Air launches flights to the CNMI
Korean airline launches flights to the CNMI.
The Marianas Visitors Authority has welcomed the introduction of Jeju Air flights into the Northern Marianas.
The South Korean airline flew its first flight into the CNMI last week.
The MVA Managing Director Perry Tenorio was on that flight.
He told Koro Vaka'uta how much the new link means to the CNMI.
PERRY TENORIO: Jeju Air will be flying a narrow body with approximately 186 seats to 189, depending on the configuration, daily from Incheon to the Commonwealth or the Northern Mariana island of Saipan. This will bring approximately 67,000 additional seats to the island.
KORO VAKA'UTA: How important is the Korean market to the CNMI?
PT: Korea's been an important source country for the CNMI for a very long time. Obviously initially when we started our travel industry we were very dependent on the Japanese market and we've learnt throughout the years that there's a need to diversify our market mix. Korea was part of that consideration.
KV: What do you know about Jeju Air?
PT: Well, number one, they're a LTC business model so we understand that the price point will be a little different than the legacy carrier that's currently servicing the CNMI. Number two, when we look at the number of seats and potentially the number of passengers that could be coming into the CNMI we are looking that they would contribute approximately 130-million in economic activity for the islands so this is quite significant for us.
KV: Is there potential for more routes?
PT: Ah, that's something that they mentioned during our short visit with them but presently they're looking at at least getting this up and running and continuing for hopefully many years to come.
KV: This is timely because as I understand it Asiana Air's been suspended.
PT: Right. Due to certain reasons the Ministry of Infrastructure, Lands and Transportation had imposed or required Asiana Airlines to suspend air service from Korea to the CNMI from October 14 to the 20. With this flight coming on board at that time, I mean it's timely in that the link from Korea to the CNMI won't be interrupted.
KV: And you were on the first flight to Saipan. What was it like?
PT: Very nice actually. Quite comfortable. The equipment itself is ideal for short haul destinations like the CNMI so I think people enjoy both carriers, given that option.
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