Service offers Oahu sightseeing by air

HONOLULU -- While on a Hawaii vacation several years ago, Pat Magie was surprised to find that Honolulu had no seaplane tour service. Magie had experience operating a seaplane service in Alaska, shuttling visitors to wilderness lodges.

Sensing the opportunity, he made the idea of bringing seaplanes to Hawaii his dream. parked seaplaneAfter eight years of planning and maneuvering through bureaucratic red tape, the seaplane operation took off. Last April, Magie and his wife Debbie formed Island Seaplane Service Inc.

The firm's offices, built on a pontoon in Keehi Lagoon, are located on Lagoon Drive at the east end of Honolulu Airport. Based there are the company's two planes, a six-passenger DeHavilland Beaver and a four-passenger Cessna 206 Stationair. They take off and land at a seaplane runway in the lagoon that had not been used for almost 50 years.

The company's literature promotes "a totally new concept in island sightseeing." But, as Magie notes, seaplanes were Hawaii's initial form of air transportation, first with Interisland Airways' Sikorskys, and then with the long-haul Pan Am Clippers.

His planes cruise at 120 mph, usually at 1,500-foot elevation but sometimes as low as 1,000 feet.

Two tour routes are offered every day:

  • A 30-minute trip, costing $79 per person, views Honolulu Harbor, Waikiki and Diamond and Oahu's eastern coast as far as Kaneohe Bay, returning via the Pali and Nuuanu Valley and Pearl Harbor.
  • A 60-minute ride, priced at $129, follows the same routes but continues to the north shore as far as the Polynesian Cultural Center and returns via the central plain.
  • The prices include roundtrip transportation from Waikiki hotels, but Magie said that almost half his business so far has been from residents eager to try a new activity.

    Marketing is done mainly through Waikiki tour and activity desks and advertising in tourist publications.

    He has begun to get group business, with the largest so far a group of doctors and their families, a total of 35 people.They were taken up in batches, starting at 5 p.m. The group bought their own drinks. Magie served fish on the pontoon, and after watching the sunset, they left.
    Island Seaplane Service
    Phone: (808) 836-6273
    Fax: (808) 395-5031

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