Guam's Freedom Air eyes growth; Cape Air questions application

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US operator Cape Air is questioning the ownership of Guam-based Freedom Air, a carrier that wants to expand its operations by flying aircraft with 150-plus seats in Micronesia

Cape Air operates two ATRs connecting Guam, Rota and Saipan under a codeshare with Continental Airlines.

Freedom Air is asking the US DOT to expand its operating certificate in order to allow it to operate larger, longer-range jets in the same region. It says it plans to offer charter service on "modern" 150-plus seat jets.

According to its web site, Freedom Air operates scheduled, charter and cargo flights with a fleet of Cessna 206 and Piper Cherokee aircraft.

Cape Air contends that Freedom's application should be treated as a new entrant into the market because "large aircraft operations are vastly different from its current local small-aircraft commuter and air taxi operations."

The service would be operated through a newly-formed subsidiary, Fly Micronesia. WAI Asia - a company formed under Hong Kong law - will provide funding, marketing support and aircraft for the larger operations.

Cape Air contends that since the would-be rival is owned by a foreign entity it needs to be in compliance with any and all open skies agreement.