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,"
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
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
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."