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Jeju Airlines to suspend Busan-Saipan flight service

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MARIANAS Visitors Authority board chairwoman Marian Aldan-Pierce said Jeju Airlines will suspend its Busan, South Korea-Saipan flight service starting in April.

“We received word just today,” she told the MVA board on Thursday.

She said T’way Air will also suspend its Nagoya, Japan-Saipan flight service, but has not yet announced the date.

Aldan-Pierce said MVA is grateful to Skymark Airlines for its daily flights from Narita, and Asiana Airlines for its Seoul, South Korea-Saipan flight service.

For her part, MVA board vice chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh said the hotel occupancy rate, which is 19.3 percent in March, is expected to decline to a single digit next month with the suspension of the flights provided by Jeju Airlines and T’way Airlines.

Cavanagh, who is chairwoman of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, said hotels are now in “survival mode.”

“This is something that basically we’ve never ever experienced before,” she added.

She said previous super typhoons didn’t damage all hotels on island, but the global outbreak of Covid-19 has negatively affected all hotels and the entire tourism industry.

“And this time we have absolutely no idea when this coronavirus outbreak will end,” she added.

She said despite the steep reduction in tourist arrivals, hotels on island remain open. But she expects that, soon, there will be a “serious discussion” among hotel managers regarding their operations.

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