Makani Air Charters Selected for Subsidized Service to Kalaupapa
By Wendy Osher
Makani Air Charters has been selected to provide subsidized Essential Air Service (EAS) for the residents of Kalaupapa.
The joint announcement was made by the US Department of Transportation, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, and US Representative Mazie K. Hirono.
“Now patients can travel to Honolulu to receive much needed medical care and treatment without having to set aside an exorbitant amount of money for airfare,” said Senator Inouye in a press release.
Sen. Akaka joined in commending DOT Secretary Ray LaHood for securing air transportation for the residents of Kalaupapa after meeting with community members in March.
“For too long, members of the Kalaupapa community have been unfairly burdened with rising ticket prices, infrequent flights, and inadequate services for residents with disabilities. Residents of this historic community need and deserve reliable air service to connect with their families and access necessities including vital doctor appointments and medication,” said Senator Akaka.
Makani Kai Air Charters currently provides charter flights for visitors to Kalaupapa. Now, with significant federal support, the company will expand and provide daily air service to Kalaupapa for residents.
“This is especially critical for residents to access medical services, conduct business, or visit their families,” said Congresswoman Hirono, member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The two-year subsidized service by Makani Kai Air Charters will begin at a rate of $932,772 in the first year; and $923,509 in the second year.
The company will use nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravans to provide service between Kalaupapa and Honolulu.
“Essential air transportation is a critical need for this remote location, especially in emergencies or natural disasters, and we will work to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible,” said DOT Director Glenn Okimoto.