Delegate James Moylan submitted his second letter to the corporate offices of United Airlines, requesting reconsideration in their  ending of the Ko’Ko’ and Sihek Program. 

Under this program, Guam’s Department of Agriculture has been sending Guam’s endangered native birds to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association for captive breeding since the 1980’s. 

The last repatriation of birds took place in 2020. The Guam Rail (Ko’Ko’) and Guam Kingfisher (Sihek) are in danger of potentially being extinct.

The program is critical to the survival of the species. The AZA has the two birds on their “Do Not Breed” list due to the repatriation challenges. 

Guam residents have very limited options when it comes to flying to Hawaii or any of the contiguous states in the nation. 

While DoAG has been making inquiries with the airline company, with their last request taking place in 2023, United Airlines has not only failed to respond, but also failed to address the reasons in the discontinuation of the program.

“While we understand that as a private company, United Airlines has the right to adhere to its business model and corporate policies, considering the unique situation in the very limited airline options for island residents, there needs to be some flexibility. In this situation, we are talking about the potential extinction of two native birds, which symbolize the identity of our island. This is about respect,” said Moylan. 

“There are so many questions that we have for United Airlines corporate office, from their travel policy for bringing pets to and from Guam, this native bird program, or even the questionable costs of travel; United Airlines needs to be more transparent. This isn’t about the local office or the Guam flight crew, who work hard every day to ensure the safety and services of the airline are a priority. This is about a corporate office making concerning decisions,” he added. 

Last week, Moylan had other concerns and requested a reconsideration of United’s travel policy when it comes to flying pets between Guam and Hawaii. While the company allows active military personnel to fly their pets, non-personnel are not allowed to. 

Responses from United are still pending.