By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Seeking to recapture the Japanese market after a two-year slump, Guam tourism officials stepped up their efforts to invite more Japanese carriers to open service on island.
“We are aggressively looking for ways to improve air traffic to Guam, which will help us with the recovery of our tourism industry and drive competition," said Carl Gutierrez, president of the Guam Visitors Bureau.
Gutierrez and Artemio “Ricky” Hernandez, deputy executive manager of the Guam International Airport Authority, are leading a Guam delegation in Tokyo, where they met with Jetstar Japan to discuss the possibility of Japan Airlines' low-cost carrier opening new service to the island.
The group originally met with the airline six months ago, GVB said.
"I thank the airport team for joining us to show Japan that we are fully committed to new possibilities for travel to Guam, Gutierrez said. "We know our hard work will make it easier and more affordable for the average traveler to choose our island paradise and for our local people to visit Japan too.”
United Airlines relaunched nonstop service between Nagoya-Guam and Fukuoka-Guam on Aug. 1, while Japan Airlines resumed direct service between Tokyo/Narita and Guam during the same month.
GVB and GIAA are seeking to branch out further to drive more air traffic to Guam by proposing new routes with foreign carriers through Haneda.
“Now that the Japanese government has further eased travel restrictions for those who travel to Guam to return home, we continue to work with our current airline partners to resume pre-pandemic flight activity," Hernandez said.
At the same time, he added, the airport authority seeks to "capitalize on opportunities that have emerged due to the pandemic to increase Guam’s air service offerings from Japan. Any opportunity to attract new or additional air service to Guam can enhance our island’s economic recovery.”
"The airport and GVB have been working closely together on multiple levels, having met with the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington D.C. last month to learn how Guam can utilize unused U.S. military plane slots at the Tokyo Haneda Airport," GVB said.
On Thursday, the delegation is slated to meet with the U.S. Embassy officials to elaborate on the Guam discussions with the USDOT.
They will then go on to Haneda airport to meet with the president of Tokyo International Air Terminal Corp. and the board chairman of Japan Air Terminal Co., Ltd.
After completing the Japan mission, the delegation will fly to Manila to meet with Philippine Airlines to discuss the prospects for expanded air service.