Legislators seeking more flights between Northern Mariana Islands and Guam
By William Cozens
Senator of Guam Will Castro (R) recently met with Northern Mariana Island Representatives Luis John Castro (R) and Ivan Blanco (R) to discuss the lowering of airfares, and increasing of flights, between the Northern Mariana Islands and his territory.
Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean; The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is also an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States consisting of 14 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
“It’s time for us to come together, to assert ourselves for long-term economic stability and preservation of our cultural values,” Castro said.
As things currently stand, only two airlines, United and Star Marianas, provide regular service between the islands. Depending on when you book and when you fly, around-trip fare from Guam to Saipan on United Airlines can be as low as $245 or as high as $547.
Star Marianas, headquartered at Tinian International Airport in Tinian Municipality, Northern Mariana Islands, runs an island hopper from Guam to Rota, the southernmost island of the Northern Mariana Islands, and beyond. A one-way fare to Rota from Guam is $130; it costs another $125 to fly on to Saipan.
Getting back to Guam adds up to roughly $510.
Castro said the legislators had made arrangements to talk with the general manager of Star Marianas next week about pricing and flight frequency issues.
The group also talked about promoting the growing of plants to help provide food security for the islands, such as breadfruit and sweet potatoes. Another issue on the table was attracting a cruise liner to provide regular service to the Marianas.
“We’re only a 30-minute plane ride away,” Castro said. “But sometimes when it comes to certain policies, we act like we’re thousands of miles away,” he said.
Speaker Tina Muna Barnes issued a statement thanking the delegation from the NMI for the trip to Guam.