Hawaii to Waive Landing Fees for Two Years

By Tony Bartlett

HONOLULU -- In an effort to boost tourism, Hawaii Gov. Ben Cayetano imposed a two-year moratorium on landing fees, saving carriers serving the state $40 million a year. "This moratorium is designed to create the best airport system by strengthening our partnership with the airline industry, " he said. "We hope our travel partners take advantage of the moratorium and bring in more visitors to the state."

Cayetano said the state "can afford to forge ahead and boost our visitor industry" because of a cash surplus in the airport revenue fund. The surplus results from cost-saving measures, unplanned reimbursements and the reduction of debt service costs through refinancing, he said. "This administration will set a policy of spending only for projects that are necessary to improve Hawaii's airport system. We will not spend simply because a surplus exists," he said.

However, Cayetano reserved the right to reinstate the fees before the moratorium ends.

Kazu Hayashida, state transportation director, said changes to lease agreements between the Transportation Department and the 26 overseas and interisland carriers serving the state will be made this month. The changes, he said, will reflect the landing fee moratorium, with the fee suspension backdated to Sept. 1.

The moratorium was applauded by airline industry in a joint announcement. Glenn Zander, Aloha Airlines president and chief executive officer, called the move "a bold and sound approach to creating a more positive business environment for Hawaii's travel industry."

Ron Wright, Continental's Hawaii managing director of sales and marketing, said, "The savings will go a long way in promoting our flights to and from Hawaii."

Norm Reeder, United's managing director for Hawaii expressed "enthusiastic support."

And Tadamichi Okubo, Japan Airlines vice president in Hawaii was encouraged by the governor's "desire to strengthen the partnership between the state and the airlines."

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