Senate Bill Encourages Remote Air Service
Hawaii Senate News Release
The Hawaii State Senate passed Senate Bill 2960 last week that would suspend landing fees for air carriers that provide interisland service to rural airports, which include Kapalua, Hana, Kalaupapa, Lanai, Molokai and Waimea-Kohala airports.
“This measure encourages commercial air carriers to continue service to the remote parts of our State,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs. “In effect, I hope it increase reliability and stabilize air fares.”
According to a Department of Transportation report, flight activity at Kalaupapa, Kapalua, Hana, Waimea-Kohala and Lanai has steadily declined over the last five years. The decrease in service was more pronounced at the airports served by smaller aircraft exclusively. For example, Hana airport saw 900 flights last year, a decrease of 2,100 flights from 2006. Those 900 flights last year were non-commercial or private air carriers. Meanwhile, Waimea-Kohala airport saw 700 flights last year, compared to 2,000 flights 2006.
The bill is headed to the House for consideration.
“The flight service to the rural airports serves as a lifeline to other parts of the State for residents living in those areas, especially for those needing vital medical attention,” added Sen. English, who represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kaho`olawe.