This article is only available for ch-aviation PRO subscribers.

The stand-off between Washington and Beijing over Covid-19-related flight restrictions continues with the United States (US) government suspending with immediate effect 26 US to China passenger flights by four Chinese carriers in retaliation for a similar measure imposed recently by the Chinese government against major US airlines.

China’s action, by which it penalises US carriers when passengers test positive for COVID-19 on arrival under a so-called “circuit-breaker” measure, has long been criticised by the US as being inconsistent with the US-China Civil Air Transport Agreement and impairing the operating rights of US carriers.

Chinese airlines affected by the latest US measure are Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines, according to an order issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) on August 25, 2022.

Flights affected are as follows:

US’s Mokulele Airlines begins Saab 340B operations

Mokulele Airlines (MHO, Kona) began services with its first Saab 340B, N679PA (msn 340B-345), from Honolulu on July 9, offering weekly flights to Lanai City and 6x weekly services to Kaunakakai, according to Flightradar24 ADS-B data.

A subsidiary of US commuter carrier Southern Airways Express (9X, Memphis Int’l), it hopes to launch its second Saab 340B in the Hawaiian islands on September 15, Chief Executive Officer Stan Little has told ch-aviation. As reported, N334CJ (msn 340B-334) will be the second of two Saab (Sweden) turboprops leased from Jetstream Aviation Capital.

The aircraft represent the first 30-seater type in the fleet of parent Southern Express Airways, which specialises in the nine-seater commuter market with a fleet comprising Cessna (single turboprop) 208 Caravans, Beech (twin turboprop) Super King 200s, and PC-12s. It also has 20 electric Regent Craft Seagliders on order. Southern Airways Express recently acquired charter carrier Air Choice One (3E, St. Louis Lambert Int’l). Its joint venture Marianas Southern

CNMI’s Marianas Pacific Airlines to debut in early 2023

Marianas Pacific Airlines (MPA) – the new sister carrier of Marianas Southern Airways (MSA) – plans to launch operations in early 2023, serving international routes from the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), according to founder Keith Stewart.

“We do not have an agreement yet on the wet lease, but will be working on this in the coming months. As for the debut, we are hoping for early 2023,” he informed ch-aviation. Stewart was responding to a query following local news reports that the startup was looking to wet-lease three B757s, of which two would be in active service, and one would be used as a spare. It was yet to decide between the B757-200 and the B757-300, he earlier told Smart Aviation Asia Pacific.

Stewart is the owner of Saipan-based real estate company MP Enterprises, which owns the new international carrier (MPA).
MP Enterprises is also the joint venture partner in Marianas Southern Airways (MSA) together with US regional airline Southern Airways Express (9X, Memphis Int’l). Stewart…

Star Marianas demands transparency over new CNMI carrier

Star Marianas Air (Tinian) has demanded transparency regarding the planned establishment of Marianas Southern Airways (Saipan) – the commuter airline joint venture between Southern Airways Express (9X, Memphis Int’l) and Saipan’s Marianas Pacific Express (MPE) scheduled for launch in late July.

The Saipan Tribune reports that the airline has requested under the CNMI’s Open Government Act that the Commonwealth Port Authority (CPA) disclose its conversations with the two parties. The port authority manages and operates all the airports and seaports throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

“Pursuant to 1 CMC $9917 (a) of the Commonwealth Open Government Act, Star Marianas Air, Inc. requests that the following be made available for inspection and possible copying: All documents and communications of any kind by and between the Commonwealth Ports Authority, MP Enterprises, and Southern Airways Express,” SMA stated in its request.

In response, CPA Chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds told the newspaper the authority was focused on opening the CNMI market for more airline competition. “What I’m far…

Editorial Comment: Updated with the schedule details. Updated with comment from Southern Airways Express. – 08.06.2022 – 07:39 UTC

This content was originally published here.