Kalaupapa Airfares to Drop
Kalaupapa airfares should drop significantly in the coming month, according to a news release from the office of Senator Daniel Inouye. Makani Kai Air Charters was designated last week to provide federally subsidized service to and from the settlement for two years.
Patients and residents had been distraught over inconsistent service and high costs – averaging slightly more than $500 per round trip from the settlement – provided by Pacific Wings in recent years. Although the details of the upcoming schedule and cost per trip to Honolulu or topside Molokai are still in the works, Department of Health Kalaupapa Administrator Mark Miller said the change should take effect within two to three weeks.
There has been “quite the buzz” about the news in the settlement, he said.
“[The reaction has been] extremely positive,” he added. “They’re very excited about the lower fares. It’s been a long time coming.”
Makani Kai Air Charters, a subsidiary of Schuman Aviation Company Ltd., will use nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravans to provide service between Kalaupapa and Honolulu. Details about flights to Ho`olehua were not immediately available.
“I am pleased to announce that as a result of the extensive efforts on the part of [U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood], Kalaupapa will have available, to patients and residents, thru air service subsidized by the federal government,” Inouye said in the release.
“In March, I invited the secretary to meet with the residents of Kalaupapa and to hear their concerns. He not only listened to their pleas, he committed to action,” he said. “Now patients can travel to Honolulu to receive much needed medical care and treatment without having to set aside an exorbitant amount of money for airfare. The people of Kalaupapa and Hawaii owe a great debt of gratitude to Secretary LaHood.”