No more Saipan-Palau flights?

  09 Feb 2018

[] Delta Airlines to pull out Saipan-Palau service, May 6

Delta Air Lines is ending its service to Palau and Saipan effective May 6 of this year.

Among the agencies in Palau that were informed on Tuesday by the Delta headquarters were the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce (MPIIC) and the Palau Visitor’s Authority(PVA). [restrict]

MPIIC Minister Charles Obichang told reporters that they will sent a letter to Delta to further hold discussions on this matter.

The PVA said that it will work with the government to reach out to the other airlines servicing Palau “to pick up the slack” while other options are being looked into to find a more permanent solution.

PVA Board of Directors chairman Ngirai Tmetuchl said that with the government’s help they will “reach out to Korean, China and Asiana Airlines to pick up the slack if possible while we also work with the Administration to find a more permanent solution.”

PVA Managing Director Stephanie Nakamura said that it’s important that all industry representatives be informed of the planned pullout.

Delta currently flies out of Narita, Japan to Saipan and Palau. It flies to Palau two times a week and is usually on full capacity.

The Japan market is one of the key tourism markets of Palau, according to the December 2017 visitors’ statistic report. In 2017 alone, there were 29,236 tourists from Japan that visited the country.

In a statement, Delta Air Lines stated that the decision was due to a lower demand in the Micronesia market.

Delta operates a B-757 to Saipan and Palau but it will return to mainland U.S. due to high demand in the states, according to the company.

While Delta airlines fly from Japan to Palau in almost full capacity, the Delta company said Other aircrafts currently operating for Delta in and out of Tokyo are the B777, A330 and A350, which requires a longer runway for landing and take-off.

“Unfortunately, these aircrafts cannot land in Palau.”

The last flight will be 6th May after Golden Week which is from April 28 – May 6.

Delta Airlines announced last year that it would stop flying to Guam entirely.

Meanwhile the United Airlines last year announced that it will stop flights between Guam and Sapporo, Japan, and reduce the number of flights between Guam and other Japanese cities. (Bernadette H. Carreon) [/restrict]