SAIPAN – Star Marianas Air's airfare increase within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a "heartless move" according to Commonwealth Ports Authority Chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds.
King-Hinds responded to Star Marianas president Shaun R. Christian's response to her reaction to the recent airfare hikes.
The CPA chairwoman said Star Marianas "is entitled to its own opinion, not facts."
“Once again, Star Marianas issues its press release crying foul, raising the same legal theories that have already been decided by the Federal Aviation Administration and the District Court in an attempt to divert the public’s attention from the real question which is how does an airline keep raising rates when they have not been paying, and all the fees are 100% waived until December," King-Hinds said.
Star Marianas is right, she added.
"We don’t have the authority to raise fares. They can charge whatever fare they want. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And at a time when people are struggling and fees have been waived, it is unconscionable to raise fares. It’s a heartless move," she said.
She added that infrastructure projects at airports across the U.S. are supported through three funding mechanisms: Airport Improvement Program grants through the FAA, Passenger Facility Charge or PFC tenant rents and fees.
"(Star Marianas) has been complaining about the PFC for many years. First, they filed a complaint stating that it was a violation of the 'anti-head tax,' which the FAA has dismissed. Now they just call it an 'overcharge.' To say that CPA has overcharged the public $2 million in PFC is a mischaracterization of the facts and, frankly, their modus operandi. Enough already," King-Hinds said.