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Jun 14, 2008

Taking hit from Continental's dropping of Saipan-Manila flights

It's not that we're all going to be stranded on this island -- at least not yet.

But Continental Micronesia's decision to drop its Manila-Saipan flights effective July 16 spells a disaster.

But who can blame Continental with the soaring price of fuel? And low demand because of a drop in the number of nurses from Manila taking the NCLEX here?

Speaking of low demand -- some in the community have this outrageous theory that the reason why only a few now travel off island is the immigration federalization. (When will this ever stop?) They say only a few workers want to exit fearing they will have difficulty coming back.

But seriously, can CNMI patients needing medical attention in Manila endure hours of layover or transit through Guam, Japan or South Korea? (Not to mention the inconvenience on weekend shoppers in Manila)

How many CNMI businessmen will be affected?

How many Filipinos will be affected? This group -- because most of them dont have US visas -- will be forced to go through Japan or Korea and wait for eight more hours to take the connecting flights to Manila.

What will make Continental change its mind?

How about limiting the frequency of the flights instead of dropping the service altogether? A once-a-week direct flight to Manila will be better than not having a direct flight at all.

Here's Continental's press release:

Airline cites skyrocketing fuel costs and lower customer demand as factors

HAGÅTÑA, GUAM, June 13, 2008 – Continental Micronesia announced today that it will discontinue service between Saipan – Manila effective on July 16, 2008. In addition, CMI will suspend flights from its Guam hub to Hong Kong and to Denpasar, Bali effective July 28, 2008 and October 2, 2008, respectively.
The skyrocketing increase in fuel costs has severely impacted the viability of
these markets. Since January 2007, jet fuel costs have spiked dramatically, increasing almost $100 per barrel or more than 140 percent. Each dollar of oil increase has an annual impact to Continental Airlines of $45MM.
“While these are very difficult decisions to make, the record fuel costs, combined with lower customer demand in these markets, lead to the decision to suspend service,” said Continental Micronesia Chief Executive Officer and President, Mark Erwin.
“These schedule changes in Asia Pacific will result in a four percent year-over-year decline in CMI mainline capacity and combined with the April 2008 suspension of Nagoya – Honolulu service will result in 21 percent year-over-year decline in a CMI mainline capacity (available seat miles, or ASMs) in the fourth quarter. These changes are part of the worldwide mainline system capacity reduction previously announced by Continental Airlines last week,” said Erwin.
The Saipan – Manila market is also severely impacted by the loss of Manila
customers traveling to Saipan to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) nursing examinations required for Registered Nurse licenses by U.S. states.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing initiated NCLEX testing in Manila in August 2007, eliminating the necessity for nursing candidates in the Philippines to travel to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) to take the examination.
“Despite our best efforts, working with the Marianas Visitors Authority and the government of CNMI, we were unable to generate sufficient customer demand from the Philippines to replace the loss of our customers traveling to Saipan to take the NCLEX examinations. We will continue to offer our valued customers in the CNMI and Philippines daily service with our connecting service via our Guam hub,” said CMI Asia and Micronesia Director of Sales and Marketing David Kendell.
Customers who are currently booked on flights affected by the capacity
reductions will be contacted by CO to arrange alternate flights or, at the election of the customer, a ticket refund.
Continental Micronesia is headquartered in Guam and operates a Pacific hub from the A.B. Won Pat International Airport. A wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines, Continental Micronesia employs 1,500 men and women and offers more than 236 departures each week between 23 cities throughout the Pacific Rim, the Micronesian Islands and Hawaii with a fleet of 13 Next-Generation Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft. In addition, Continental Micronesia and its code share partner Cape Air operate 86 weekly commuter service flights between Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,100 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 145 domestic and 138 international destinations. More than 550 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines. With more than 45,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 69 million passengers per year.
Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For the fifth consecutive year, FORTUNE magazine named Continental the No. 1 World’s Most Admired Airline on its 2008 list of World’s Most Admired Companies. For more company information, visit continental.com.


Island Girl said...

More bad news. I guess it will continue to get worse before it gets better.

glend558 said...

And the downward spirial keeps on turning... and turning.

Anonymous said...

Problem is when will better be...federalization, you asked for it you got it!

Marianas Pride said...

Ok, so now we are blaming Continental's pullout of its Manila flights on federalization?? Hey, let's blame everything else on federalization: AIDS, SARS, terrorism, global warming, world inflation, and world poverty.

Stupidity: we didn't ask for it, but we got it.

Anonymous said...

There is no question that the Federalization of immigration affects Continental's Manila route. In two years, Filipinos will need a visa to travel to Saipan. You see MP, it's a round trip. Continental needs to fill those seats coming back as well.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Sorry, Ed.

This time it is your fault. All your fault.

Thanks a lot!


No Porky for Delagate said...

When Continental and the garment goons leave, who will we then blame for our high prices other than our long befuddled Congress?

KAP said...

Not so fast about 'outrageous theories'. Is your stay continuous if you leave island for awhile?

Anonymous said...

I think it's too funny that people are trying to blame this Continental decision on federalization. I've heard that some people are being paid to put anti-federalization comments on these web sites, just like that guy in California who had never been here was paid to write letters to the editor sympathetic to a certain point of view. Also, remember "Island Crusader"? They were churning out anti-federalization nonsense for a little while, perhaps until someone's contact ran out. Blaming the Continental cut-back (they're cutting back hundreds of routes around the world): Wow, it looks like someone's trying really hard to make their quota.

"Federalization: You asked for it, you got it." (That sounds like the type of catchy nonsense that would come from a paid marketing type, doesn't it?)

Anonymous said...

Continental is also canceling flights from Guam to Bali and Hong Kong.

You could blame federalization for that too!

Ms. D. said...

Anonymous said...

"Federalization: You asked for it, you got it." (That sounds like the type of catchy nonsense that would come from a paid marketing type, doesn't it?)

Thank you for the compliment.

“Federalization: You asked for it; you got it.” © Ms. D. 2008.

You inadvertently replaced the semicolon with a comma, and neglected to use the proper open and closed quotation marks in lieu of the multi-purpose quotation marks.

I wonder if there is any way to get paid for that? To show what a public-spirited person I am, I hereby grant a non-exclusive license to use my slogan without attribution on this blog and Lillian F. Hammerhead's blog.

Ms. D. said...

Federalization was indeed a factor in reducing the load factors for this route.

So many of our hard-working foreign national workers have bought into the rumors that the Ombudsperson has promised Green Cards to all and sundry that they are loathe to leave the CNMI with their mirage on the horizon.

That said, the immediate cause of CO's decision was business -- the cost of fuel. As noted, federalization does not affect flights to Balil

What I find amusing, however, is the hysteria embodied in our blogger's original post.

Hello! What do you think is another reason Continental's load factor is down? Competetition.

That's right. More and more people are voluntarily taking the Northwest flights through Nagoya or Tokyo. Why? To save $50 to $100, even at the inconvenience of a 10-hour layover.

It's not the end of the world. And you get more frequent flyer miles.

Anonymous said...

Price of Oil hits all time reoord high price after US has invaded Iraq and threatened Iran under the helm of the REPUBLICAN PARTY AND ITS LEADER.

Biba Republican! Biba Pete A.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I still haven't been to Manila. One of these days...

Anonymous said...

No one cares if you've been to Manila, or not, Angelo.

The problem is about air service that is essential to a large segment of our community. It is not about you.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Oreo cares. A lot.

green card..i'm waiting for you.. said...

travels definitely down.. everyone is hanging out waiting for that green card.. who wants to fly now and take a risk of not being around when they start dishing out green cards..

what if said...

What if Angelo was Governor.

No one would sit around and wait for green cards.

CGWs would have a great excuse not to leave..."we can't get home".

Continental would solve the whole thing!

If the economy gets any worse, locals (including mainlanders)will be trying to move to the PI and leaving workers in Saipan forever.

grammar police said...

In the title of this post: "Taking hit" should be "Taking a hit".

bradinthesand said...

what's the big deal about flying through japan? and patients needing urgent medical care can simply leave sooner or go to hawaii.

i don't think the world is ending because the saipan-manila flight is canceled, but it does become a little more inconvenient.

toughen up! start worrying when continental, northwest and freedom air decide the cost of providing air service to and from the cnmi is too expensive.

when i have to take a ferry to guam to catch a flight i'll be nervous.

Ms. D. said...

Hear, hear!

Jeff said...

When you have three kids, including a baby, and a Filipino family, and you need to get to the PI from time to time, it isn't very appealing to drag the family, especially a baby, on that bouncy prop plane and wait around hours in Guam with those same three kids in that shithole airport. Filipinos can't even go there due to typical u.s. hysteria. It's not cancer, but it blows big time as far as I'm concerned, especially since I had a ticket that just got wiped out with this.

Kababayan said...

On NW there is a layover of about 8 hours in Nagoya (NGO) or Tokyo (NRT), and you don't arrive in MNL until around 11 p.m.

But as you say, not everyone can get to Guam to fly CO, or enjoys those tiny planes. I'd rather have a longer layover and fly the safer planes, but some people value their lives or families less than their time.

And the Japanese airports do have a lot of space to walk around and explore, including observation decks upstairs.

With small kids, it's smart to bring a blanket to sleep in a quiet corner.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so someone cares, Angelo. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I guess there will be no "special favors" given anymore since the government could no longer afford giving them out anymore. What I do I mean? Read on...

Here's an example of fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement in government:

Is there a need for the CNMI to redefine ethics?

Click on the following link for details (begin reading from page 7): www.opacnmi.com/reports/ar-97-05.pdf

Honestly, $30,000.00 is a whole lot of money to dish out, especially when the "actual work" was never performed.

Link Master said...


Link Master said...

The link provided was incomplete. Here it is in its entirety.


Anonymous said...

Filipinos can't go to Guam because the second they touch down it's over the hill and into the boonies with them. Put a tracking monitor on their ankle then maybe they can transit.

Anonymous said...

They can't go to Guam because they dont have a US visa. that's all there is to it.

Anonymous said...

I visited the link posted. It's about Kilili's failure to provide services to the govt contrary to contract signed years back.

Excerpts from the OPA report:

1. Department of Finance
Our review of contract documents and discussions with DOF officials and employees showed that a contractor (i.e. Gregorio C. Sablan, Creative Networking
Consulting) was granted a $30,000 advance payment representing 50 percent of the contract amount without adequate justification. The contractor subsequently failed to perform any of the scope of work specified in the contract and the
CNMI Government had no recourse but to sue the contractor to recover the advance payment.

2. Pre- Constitutional Convention (ConCon) Committee
Our review of contract documents and communication with the ConCon
Chairman showed that a contractor (i.e. Mr. Gregorio C. Sablan) failed to perform the administrative and support services required under his $12,639 contract with the ConCon Committee. The contractor received a total payment
of $5,833 as a result of contract terms which required a $2,916.67 advance payment upon completion of contract signing and another $2,916.67 automatic payment after 15 days.

What happened to the recommendations of OPA? has the gov;t subsequently collected from Kilili?

Max Sand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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