Despite having the approval of the US Department of Transportation (DOT), XTRA Airways (XP, Miami Int'l) may not be able to go ahead with its planned China – Northern Mariana Islands route after losing its landing slot at Saipan, reports the Saipan Tribune.

"The problem at the moment is, unless we get a chance to get this reversed, the program is in jeopardy and that would be a real shame," said XTRA Airways Pacific Operations Manager Thomas Nolte.

The Florida-based carrier was granted authority by the DOT for a 3x weekly service between Saipan and Nanjing, and a 2x weekly service between Saipan and Shenzhen, but has had to postpone their launch due to regulatory delays in China. It says that it was awarded a 4am slot by Customs and Border Protection in early June, but later found out that it had been given to Capital Airlines (China) (JD, Beijing Capital).

"Changing our time slot is not viable at this point. Our times are already set in China," said Nolte. "Unless you are a very large Chinese carrier, you're not going to be given daytime slots. That's the reality of it. So for us to go back and try to convince China [about] this kind of domino effect that has been going on here is going to string us out."

Nolte is concerned that a lengthy delay will strain XTRA's cash reserves.