State starts widening beach along Waikiki

Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) on Jan. 23 began work on a 60-day, $2.4 million sand-replenishment project at Waikiki Beach.

Restoring the beach to a width not seen since 1985, the work will replenish sand along more than 1,700 feet of coastline, stretching from the west end of the Kuhio swim basin, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue, to the Sheraton Waikiki hotel.

Work to recover about 24,000 cubic yards of sand deposits located 1,500 to 3,000 feet offshore will take place during daylight hours, and closures will occur through March 20 where active sand placement is being done. Except for the 200-foot sections undergoing sand replenishment, Waikiki Beach will remain open during the project, DLNR officials said.

For daily project updates, visit  

SpeediShuttle spreads islandwide

Statewide airport transfer company Speedi-Shuttle took over the Hawaii Department of Transportation's exclusive on-demand shuttle concession at Honolulu Airport last fall and expanded service to any destination on Oahu Feb. 17.

Roberts Hawaii had operated the concession with large motorcoaches since 2001, offering one-way transportation only to Waikiki hotels and the Honolulu Harbor.

Featuring a fleet of 11-passenger Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibuses, SpeediShuttle employs teams of six "hosts" to assist with ticketing and baggage at four curbside pickup zones throughout the airport.

"In three minutes, we can issue you your ticket and have you embark on the shuttle," said SpeediShuttle President and CEO Cecil Morton. "And within minutes, we have your luggage in the rear ... your driver welcoming you onboard and ... departing the airport in less than eight minutes."

A one-way ticket to Waikiki is $14.51 per person, while prices elsewhere on the island vary depending on the destination. Visit  

Air Australia strands passengers

Claiming it no longer had sufficient funds to meet operational expenses, Air Australia grounded its fleet after entering into the Australian equivalent of bankruptcy proceedings Feb. 17, stranding hundreds of passengers in Honolulu.

Formerly Strategic Airlines, the carrier launched Hawaii's only nonstop service between Oahu and both Brisbane and Melbourne in December.

"Australia continues to be an important market to Hawaii's tourism economy, and we will continue to support carriers servicing this region," Mike McCartney, Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO, said in a statement. The total number of visitors traveling to Hawaii from Australia jumped nearly 25% year over year in 2011.
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