New airline heavily promotes Guam - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

New airline heavily promotes Guam

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - There's big news in the tourism industry today, as a new airline makes its debut and announces plans to make Guam part of a brand name that will bring the island to the attention of travelers from a variety of destinations.  Fly Guam was unveiled today and the new brand in the air plans to make flying a local affair.

Pumped-in ocean sounds, Chamorro-style meals on board and an in-flight magazine geared toward island living are all part of the effect. CEO of Fly Guam Jeff Stern says the airline will fill a void in the tourism market, telling KUAM News, "I don't see that there is a local brand out there. There is an American brand, but not a local brand and there is a big difference in local and American in a way when it comes to culture."

Fly Guam is a partnership between Freedom Air and Wai Asia an investment company based in Hong Kong. The airline will offer direct flights to Taipei, Osaka, Palau, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Manila.

"The island of Guam and the Marianas do have the infrastructure an the product to really cater to the Asian market," Stern added.

And Stern plans to cater to travelers by offering and flight packages to the Marianas and expanding the number of aircraft. The airline will operate Boeing 737s with a flight capacity of 124 seats.  Ernie Galito with the Guam Visitors Bureau said, "Seat capacity is our opportunity to grow without increasing seat capacity.  We have to rely on increasing flights."

Galito says the new airline will especially boost tourism from areas outside of Japan, noting, "With the consumers it will really be great because they will have a choice they can take the existing carriers now or they can take fly Guam routes and we hope the other carriers will try and increase in response to the competition."

Fly Guam plans to set themselves apart from the competition, as Stern says the island style won't just be limited to inside the planes - each aircraft will sport an image of Guam on the tail of the plane.  "And what we want to do is bring that local brand out there to local markets and show it around and show what Guam is all about in a strong way."

Fly Guam is currently awaiting authority from the FAA to get off the ground.  Stern says they should begin flying by the end of the year.  

Of course, what everybody really wants to know before making plans to take off on Fly Guam is exactly what the prices will be. Stern says while prices will be cheaper than what you see today exact fares won't be known until October.

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