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 International). Stewart also owns the Pacific Rim Group of Companies, which does not have any ownership interest in MSA, he confirmed.

MPA would operate as a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved scheduled service Part 121 air carrier, allowing unrestricted operations. It would be a full-service passenger and cargo airline, connecting the CNMI to Australasia and North East Asia, forging new trade opportunities for tourism, and export and import businesses while facilitating the travel for essential services for the people of the archipelago.

The plan was to provide 52 flights a week on seven niche routes in the first three years using three US-registered aircraft. The planned routes would be accessible to more than 313 million people in four countries within a six-hour 15 minutes flying time of Saipan.

Meanwhile, sister carrier MSA is set to commence flights on August 15, with one Tecnam P2012 Traveler. It will provide local flights within the CNMI. Initial routes will be Saipan-Tinian, Saipan-Rota International, and Saipan-Guam International, with Rota-Guam to be added later. Additional aircraft are be added to the airline’s fleet over the next six months.