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Asiana Airlines celebrates 30 years in Saipan | Business section

ASIANA Airlines celebrated the 30th anniversary of its flight service between Saipan and Incheon on Saturday and pledged to continue “a flourishing partnership” with CNMI.

Asiana Airlines Regional Sales Office General Manager Intak Hwang was joined by Marianas Visitors Authority Vice President Gloria Cavanagh, General Manager Priscilla M Iakopo; Chairman of the Commonwealth Ports Authority Kimberlyn King-Hinds, Executive Director Christopher Tenorio, Board Members Pete P. Reyes, Thomas Villagomez, Roman Tudela and Joseph M. Diaz, President of the Senate Jude U. Hofschneider, President Edmund S. Villagomez and chairman of Tan Holdings Corp. and CEO Jerry Tan.

Also present at the celebration were staff members from Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport and Asiana Airlines.

Hwang thanked them all, saying he was happy to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Saipan-Incheon route with them.

He also thanked the partners and patrons of Asiana Airlines within the CNMI. “We were able to build strong relationships and contribute to the well-being and success of the island,” he added.

Charter flights

Asiana Airlines headquarters also sent their own message which Hwang read:

“First of all, we would like to thank everyone for taking the time to join us today to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Asiana’s flight service to Saipan.

“While regular operations were halted for a year and three months during the pandemic, we oversaw a total of 10 special charter flights for CNMI residents and the transport of Covid medical equipment. The first to start a travel bubble with the CNMI and the Korean government, we have resumed our regular activities since July 24 of last year.

“We have been able to bring stability to CNMI tourism in light of the pandemic as the island’s representative airline during this time, thanks to the support of the CNMI government, MVA and CPA.

“It is an honor to be here to celebrate the 30th anniversary of our SPN-ICN route and our three decades of close partnership with the island of Saipan as the long and dark Covid tunnel begins to end.

“Asiana Airlines hopes to continue its legacy as the premier airline offering safe and comfortable travel between Saipan and Korea and we will do our best, as always, to achieve this goal. We wish to emerge from this pandemic with a thriving partnership, stronger than ever, based on trust and cooperation between Korea and CNMI.”

Global airline

Tan Holdings Corp. Chairman and CEO Jerry Tan, who also co-chairs the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, noted that Asiana Airlines’ parent company, Kumho Asiana Group, has expanded its investments in CNMI by acquiring LaoLao Bay Golf & Resort.

He said Asiana Airlines provides CNMI residents with more than just flight service between Saipan and Incheon.

Asiana Airlines, he added, has the best connecting flights from Incheon to the rest of Asia, and even to Europe and almost anywhere in the world.

“As you know, Asiana Airlines is a global airline. It’s actually another important service for our residents who need to go anywhere other than Incheon,” Tan said.

A very long time

Marianas Visitors Authority Vice President Gloria Cavanagh said a company as big as Asiana Airlines has been flying to Saipan for 30 years, which she added is “fantastic”.

She said Asiana Airlines has been here “through thick and thin if you remember all that’s happened in the last 30 years.”

President Edmund S. Villagomez said 30 years is a very significant number of years of commitment and partnership.

On behalf of his colleagues in the House of Representatives and the people of the Commonwealth, he expressed his gratitude to Asiana Airlines.

Senate Speaker Jude U. Hofschneider thanked Asiana Airlines for the long years of partnership and commitment that are essential to the well-being and livelihoods of the island community.

This partnership, he added, serves as a “driving force” for the CNMI. “We, the people of CNMI, are resilient and we never give up. I am confident that for the next few years, this partnership will once again thrive,” he said.