2 Jul 2012

CNMI government harshly criticised after aborting Saipan Air launch

12:49 pm on 2 July 2012

The Northern Mariana Islands government is being harshly criticised for counting its eggs before they hatched after the airline Saipan Air abandoned its much anticipated launch.

Saipan Air had planned to introduce flights from key cities in Japan and China but it has announced that it is suspending its operation until further notice after it was told its plane couldn't be delivered.

The flights were expected to bring an extra 100,000 tourists to the territory, and the government had said it could reverse a government employee pay cut.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says the government was banking on the deal.

"Let's just say Saipan Air was able to meets its targets touristwise and you get some additional revenue from taxes, but at the same time I think the government was being too presumptuous to add five to seven million dollars to its coffers."

Mark Rabago says the withdrawal of the service has been met with shock by the government and business owners.