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DBEDT Recruiting Hawaii Companies for 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show

For the sixth consecutive year, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is promoting Hawaii-made products through a special Hawaii Pavilion at the autumn 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS).

During Sept. 6-8, 2017, at the Tokyo Big Sight venue, the Hawaii Pavilion will be home base for up to 70 Hawaii companies seeking to export locally made gift products.  TIGS is the largest international trade show in Japan with more than 4,100 exhibitors showcasing personal gifts, consumer goods and decorative accessories.  Show organizers anticipate more than 200,000 buyers, wholesalers and distributers to attend the three-day trade show.

“The Tokyo International Gift Show provides the opportunity to showcase Hawaii’s unique products to an international audience,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This helps us grow our trade sector and add value to the Hawaii brand, which is recognized around the world, especially in Japan.”

At last year’s Tokyo International Gift Show, 62 Hawaii companies reported projected sales of more than $15 million.

A sampling of Hawaii-made products showcased at last year’s gift show included:

  • Fashion: casual and resort wear and accessories
  • Specialty food and gift products: many of which are only found in Hawaii
  • Cosmetics and nutraceuticals: derived from our natural ocean and botanical resources
  • Agricultural products: such as candies and fruit jams, jellies and preserves; fresh Maui-grown pineapple and onion; Big Island macadamia nuts, papaya and coffee.
  • Locally designed jewelry
  • Wood products: utilizing koa and specialty woods.

Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant, the Hawaii Pavilion at TIGS is part of a series of initiatives DBEDT has undertaken to increase the export of Hawaii’s products.

Export-ready Hawaii companies interested in participating in the 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show should email dbedt.tigs@hawaii.gov to receive an exhibitor’s packet or apply online at invest.hawaii.gov.

Deadline to submit application forms is Friday, April 7, 2017.

Big Island Police Identify Victim in Mauna Kea Access Road Crash

Police have identified the female who died from injuries sustained in a one car crash Sunday (March 12) on Mauna Kea Access Road.

She was identified as 35-year-old Aurelie Vincent of Vienne, France.

Police are also asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Erhard Autrata at 961-8118 or email: erhard.autrata@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Tourist from France Dies on Mauna Kea Access Road

An unidentified woman died following a one-vehicle crash Sunday night (March 12) on Mauna Kea Access Road.

Her name is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of her family.

Responding to the 7:30 p.m. traffic crash, Hilo Patrol Officer’s determined that a 2001 Nissan sports-utility vehicle was traveling down Mauna Kea Access Road approximately 1.2 miles below the Visitor’s Center when the vehicle ran off the roadway and overturned several times.

The operator of the Nissan, the unidentified woman, was taken to the Hilo Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on March 13 at 12:29 a.m.

The front seat passenger, a 35-year old female of Lyon, France was also transported to the Hilo Medical Center in stable condition and later medevaced to Queen’s Medical Center on Oʻahu for treatment to her injuries.

Police have initiated a Coroner’s Inquest investigation and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Police believe that speed was a factor in this investigation.

This is the fifth traffic fatality this year compared with five at this time last year.

According to Doug Arnott of Arnott’s Lodge:

OMG…an associate just called and the two girls involved in the Mauna Kea crash were our guests at Arnotts…they had rented a camper truck with a structure on top that folds out. Tragically one was killed in the accident and one is in Queens…They asked about activities to do and I had suggested the Volcano Park and asked them if the truck had 4 wheel drive…they were from Lyon in France and had planned to visit Kauai after the Big Island…

Apparently police were on scene for a previous accident when this one happened literally in front of their eyes…previous reports of one accident above VIS and one below were wrong…both were at the sweeping right turn at the bottom of the very steep paved section immediately below the VIS.

Island Air Launches Saver Fares for First and Last Flights

Island Air, the value leader airline in the Hawaiian Islands, is making it more affordable to travel interisland with the introduction of its “Hele Mai Saver Fare.” Starting immediately, travelers can save by booking the first and last flights of each of Island Air’s routes. Fares on the first and last flights will be $60* one way between Honolulu, Kahului and Līhu‘e, and $70* one way on flights between Honolulu and Kona.

“The Hele Mai Saver Fare is ideal for anyone traveling between the Islands for early morning appointments or all-day meetings, as well as those who want to enjoy an early dinner or sunset pau hana (happy hour) before catching the last flight out,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “The Hele Mai Saver Fare is also a great way for travelers to maximize their time by getting an early start and having a full day to spend time with family and friends on our beautiful Islands.”

Island Air’s flight schedule can be viewed at: https://www.islandair.com/flight-schedules. Reservations can be made online at www.islandair.com or by calling (800) 652-6541.

*The Hele Mai one-way fare includes one federal transportation segment tax and one security fee. Other taxes and fees may apply.

 

Tour Group Caught in Closed Area in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A tour guide based in France and a tour group of 13 people were caught early Monday morning sneaking into the closed area at Halema‘uma‘u, the erupting summit crater of Kīlauea volcano.

Visitors observing the summit eruption of Kīlauea from the observation deck at Jaggar Museum, one mile away from Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo

National Park Service law enforcement officers spotted the group just after midnight, and issued citations for violating the terms of the closure to all 14 people. The tour guide was issued additional citations for operating a non-permitted business in the park and creating a hazardous condition. All 14 were escorted out of the park.

The 44-year-old male tour guide, affiliated with the French tour company Adventure et Volcans, must make a mandatory court appearance and faces a maximum penalty of $5,000 and six months in jail. His name is being withheld as the investigation continues. The violation of closure citations are $100 each, with a $30 processing fee.

“This is a serious violation,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Areas surrounding Halema‘uma‘u Crater are closed because of extremely hazardous volcanic conditions that include high concentrations of toxic gases and particulates, ongoing volcanic explosions and frequent collapses of the crater walls,” he said.

Explosions from Halema‘uma‘u can occur anytime, without warning. Last August, a summit explosion hurled a layer of volcanic rock, lava bombs and molten spatter nearly 300 feet beyond the crater rim, and covered an area about 720 feet wide along the rim. It destroyed the power system of a U.S. Geological Survey instrument that was used for scientific research and monitoring volcanic activity. Last October, two explosions blasted lava spatter, rock and glassy particulates a quarter mile from the crater to the closed portion of Crater Rim Drive. In November, spatter from another lava lake explosion damaged the cable on a USGS webcam located on the rim of the crater.

Halema‘uma‘u Crater, a 4.7-mile section of Crater Rim Drive, and sections of the Halema‘uma‘u and Crater Rim trails, have been closed since the most recent summit eruption began in 2008.

“Visitors need to be aware that, while much of the attention lately has been on the hazards of the 61g ocean entry at Kamokuna, the park staff remains very concerned about the ongoing hazards in the vicinity of Halema‘uma‘u,” Chief Ranger Broward said. “Rangers will continue to monitor and take appropriate action to reduce the occurrence of risky behavior in both areas.”

Since July 2016, rangers have issued 35 citations for closure violations at Halema‘uma‘u, and nearly 100 citations at Kamokuna.

Botanical World Adventures Wins Awards

Two popular local attractions have been recognized by frequent travelers and readers of a prominent magazine. In a “Best Hawaii Island Botanical Gardens” category and in a “Best Hawaii Island Zipline Company” category, readers selected the World Botanical Gardens & Waterfalls and the Zip Isle Zipline as runners up. The adventure attractions at Botanical World Adventures won the awards in HAWAI’I Magazine’s 5th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards, just announced by the magazine.

“The magazine does not provide a list of choices for awards, so readers choose businesses based on their recall of their experiences,” explained Kika Nixon, Operations Manager at Botanical World Adventures. “This makes the honor of our selection even greater.”

In addition to the lush flower gardens, waterfalls, hiking trails and the zip line tours; visitors seek out Botanical World Adventures for the unique Segway rainforest tours and the world class permanent jungle maze, added the Operations Manager.

Botanical World Adventures is located 16 miles north of Hilo at mile marker 16 on Highway19. Additional information is available by calling (808) 963-5427; (toll free: 888-947-4753), and on the web at www.ZipIsle.com or BotanicalWorld.com

Hawaii Hosts Economic Summit with Leaders from Japan in Kona

The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit educational organization, announce the first ever Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit to be held in Kona, Hawaii from May 9 to 11, 2017.

The summit seeks to accelerate regional and international exchange with prefectures in Japan that have interests in and connections with Hawaii.

“Hawaii and Japan have a unique and significant relationship,” said Gov. David Ige.  “We continue to look for ways to develop programs and initiatives with our global partners, as we strive to achieve new models for economic development, energy cooperation, people-to-people exchanges, youth, and education.”

Summit attendees will discuss shared issues and opportunities spanning business, tourism and energy, and will help forge connections that will pave the way for future collaboration and trade.

“The relationship between Japan and Hawaii continues to have a tremendous impact on Hawaii’s economy,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This summit provides us with a chance to bring key leaders together to explore new opportunities to grow our economy and create new jobs.”

“Japan and Hawaii have a partnership that has been built and nurtured over generations. USJC supports strengthening ties through people-to-people relationships and public-private connections for the benefit of Japan, Hawaii and the continental United States,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the U.S.-Japan Council.

Governors, vice-governors and businesses from Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Ehime, Shizuoka, Okayama, Oita and Nagano prefectures have been invited. These include prefectures that have sister partnerships with the state of Hawaii or are part of USJC’s Governors’ Circle, an initiative that promotes bilateral economic collaboration at the state-prefecture level. The Summit will also be attended by the Governor of Hawaii and other dignitaries in Hawaii, as well as assembly officials, academia and distinguished executives from the continental United States.

Hawaii is recognized as an ideal location for Japanese companies interested in pursuing global business activities. A number of success stories will be discussed at the summit. Hawaii companies interested in the Japan market will also have the opportunity to hear about trends and opportunities to help them launch their products and services in Japan.

Summit Discussion Topics:

  • Business Bridges: Crossing the Pacific to Global Success
  • Innovations in Education: Sparking Global Awareness
  • Tourism 2.0: Strategies to Engage the Next Generation Visitor
  • Governors’ Circle Panel
  • Food Fortunes:  Overcoming Challenges and Building Brands Overseas
  • Puu Waawaa Ranch Pavilion

For more information, and to register for the event, please visit: www.usjapancouncil.org/japan_hawaii_economic_summit.

About the U.S.-Japan Council

The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and government entities on both sides of the Pacific. The Council cultivates an international network of members, and collaborates with other organizations and institutions to develop programs that allow members to engage with their counterparts in the United States and Japan. The Council promotes people-to-people relations as crucial to a strong U.S.-Japan relationship. The Council was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Washington, DC, with staff in Hawaii, California and Tokyo.

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages.  DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens.  Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Roadway & Parking Lot Striping Work Begins Monday

Visitors and tour operators to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are advised that a project to re-stripe roadways and parking lots at Kīlauea Visitor Center and Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) begins Monday, March 6 and will cause traffic delays up to 15 minutes.

Thurston Lava Tube

Work begins Monday at the Kīlauea Visitor Center’s (KVC) parking lot. When the KVC striping is complete, the project at Nāhuku will begin. Work should be complete by early May.

An NPS report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

United Airlines Adding Denver/Kona Route

Flights from Kona/Denver to begin this summer

United Airlines is revitalizing its route network with more destinations, more flights and more convenient connections for customers in both domestic and international markets. Subject to government approval, the carrier will add a seasonal route between San Francisco and Munich for the first time ever, and one of the carrier’s daily flights between Newark, New Jersey and Tel Aviv, Israel will be upgauged with the new Boeing 777-300ER. The airline is also growing its domestic network, adding even more connections and additional service to 30 destinations across the U.S.

“Starting this summer we’re offering more flights, to more destinations at more convenient times than in recent memory,” said Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines. “And with bigger and more modern aircraft for many of our flights, we’ll be getting you to the moments that matter most – relaxed and ready to go.”

United is also introducing daily summer service in six markets. Flights to Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale, Tucson and New Orleans not previously offered in the summer, will now move to year round service.

SSI and Hawaiian Airlines Launch New Rewards Program

SSI and Hawaiian Airlines announced a new rewards program today called Opinions Take Flight.  The program offers HawaiianMiles members the opportunity to earn award miles by participating in surveys and sharing their opinions.

Click to see how the program works

Currently in its 88th year of continuous service, Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii’s biggest and longest-in-service airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland.  HawaiianMiles members who enroll in the free Opinions Take Flight program (http://www.opinionstakeflight.com) will grow SSI’s B2B U.S. sample membership and provide SSI clients more access to consumer and business travelers’ opinions.

As the program rolls out to other countries, SSI is expecting additional signups from HawaiianMiles members living and working in Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand.  SSI is the premier data audience company with over 2 million B2B sample members globally.

HawaiianMiles members who newly enroll in the Opinions Take Flight panel will receive 350 award miles after completing their first survey.  Award miles will be directly deposited into member accounts and can be redeemed for air travel, car rentals, hotel stays and shopping.

“We are extremely excited for our HawaiianMiles members to experience the Opinions Take Flight program with SSI,” said Char Oshiro, senior director for HawaiianMiles, based in Honolulu.  “In our continuing effort to offer new opportunities to earn miles toward travel-related services, this relationship with SSI will be a first for HawaiianMiles.  We have great confidence in SSI and its team.  They have built a fantastic reputation as the world’s largest multi-mode sample provider to professionals around the globe seeking insights.”

SSI’s business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) audiences are part of the world’s largest and most trusted proprietary sample, which means participants are carefully recruited, verified and managed according to SSI’s high standards.  SSI reaches and engages even the most challenging targets from more than 90 countries.  Sixty-two percent of SSI research projects are multi-cultural.

“SSI is a company deeply rooted in creating data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research.  We’ve held a leadership position in providing audience for insights and created the largest network of audience focused loyalty programs around the world,” said Bob Fawson, SSI chief product officer.  “SSI is dedicated to helping companies go from product discovery to product supremacy.  By joining the Opinions Take Flight panel, HawaiianMiles members will experience a simple and easy way to earn miles to help global companies improve their products and services.”

Hawaiian Airlines Remains Top Carrier for Punctuality – 13th Consecutive Year Holding Title

Hawaiian Airlines remained the nation’s top carrier for punctuality in 2016, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), marking the airline’s 13th consecutive year holding the title.

Click to view Air Travel Consumer Report for February 2017

Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline averaged a 91.1 percent on-time performance rating in 2016, earning the top ranking in all but one month and exceeding the industry average for the year by 9.7 percentage points. For December, Hawaiian Airlines posted a leading 85.1 percent on-time performance rating. The carrier also ranked first in fewest flight cancellations with 0.1 percent, or nine cancellations out of 6,347 flights.

“It’s no secret that our more than 6,000 employees work passionately every day to ensure our guests arrive at their destination on-time,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “Our success the past 13 years is a direct result of their hard work, and I continue to be inspired by their dedication to our guests.”

Last month, Hawaiian was also named the world’s most punctual airline in 2016 by air travel intelligence company OAG in its annual ranking of on-time performance for all global airlines and airports.

Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline provides daily non-stop service to Hawai’i from 11 gateway cities in North America – more cities than any other carrier – using Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines also operates approximately 160 daily flights between the Hawaiian Islands using Boeing 717-200 aircraft.

The DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report ranking the nation’s 16 largest air carriers is available online at www.dot.gov/individuals/air-consumer/air-travel-consumer-reports.

Hawaii Travel Ban Lawsuit Adds Religious Freedom Claim

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii federal judge Derrick K. Watson has partially lifted the stay he placed last week on Hawaii’s travel ban lawsuit. This action by Judge Watson allows Dr. Ismail Elshikh, a U.S. citizen and Hawaii resident, to join Hawaii’s case against the President’s Executive Order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations and suspending the nation’s refugee program.

Click to read lawsuit

Judge Watson also allowed Hawaii to add a new count, alleging violations of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Act prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening the exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

The stay Judge Watson issued last week remains in place for all other purposes, so long as the nationwide injunction against implementation of the President’s Executive Order, signed on January 27, 2017, remains in place. On Friday, February 10th, a 3-0 decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the nationwide injunction to remain in place.

Attorney General Chin added, “President Trump’s executive order imposes a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. Freedom of religion is one of the most important rights and values for citizens in this country, no matter what religion that is. The additional claim in our complaint protects that right.”

A copy of the first amended complaint in Hawaii v. Trump is attached.

Hawaii’s Economy Continues to Expand

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released its first quarter 2017 Statistical and Economic Report, which shows Hawaii’s economy continues to expand at a slightly reduced rate.

Click to view full report

According to the most recent data released on Feb. 2 from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii’s economic growth rate during the first three quarters of 2016 was 2.1 percent, higher than the U.S. economic growth rate of 1.4 percent during the same time period.

“Hawaii had a great year in 2016 with 14,000 new payroll jobs created,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “Almost every sector saw job increases except state government and wholesale trade.  Our unemployment rate was the fourth lowest in the nation in 2016, and we expect our economic condition to remain stable in 2017.”

DBEDT revised its projection on Hawaii’s economic growth, as measured by the growth of real gross domestic product (GDP), to 1.8 percent for 2017, slightly lower than the 1.9 percent projection made in the previous quarter.

“The downward adjustment in Hawaii’s economic growth for 2017 was mainly due to the new projection on visitor expenditures for 2017,” said Chief State Economist Eugene Tian.  “We expect visitor arrivals will reach more than 9 million in 2017, about the same as we forecasted in the previous quarter.  However, we now expect visitor days will grow by 1.4 percent in 2017, lower than the 2 percent we forecasted in November 2016.  We will see fewer or slower growth from those longer length-of-stay markets such as Oceania, Canada, Europe, and U.S. West.  The slower growth in visitor days will lead to slower growth in visitor expenditures.”

According to DBEDT, passenger count data, total passengers to Hawaii increased 3.8 percent in January 2017, as compared with the same month last year. Passengers on domestic flights increased 2.2 percent and passengers on international flights increased 8.1 percent.

The end of 2016 saw historic high levels of labor force, employment and payroll job count.  Statewide unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) fell to 2.6 percent by the end of the year.  By December 2016, unemployment rates of all the counties fell below 3 percent, except Hawaii County where unemployment rate was slightly higher than others, at 3.1 percent.

In 2016, four sectors were the main driving forces for job gains: construction, tourism, health care and professional services.  Construction led the job gain at 4,600; followed by Food Services and Drinking Places at 2,800; Health Care and Social Assistance at 2,500; Accommodations at 1,000; and Professional and Business Services added 900 jobs.

In 2016, initial unemployment claims decreased by 6.4 percent.  However, the decrease occurred mostly in the beginning months of the year. Since October 2016, initial unemployment claims have been higher than the same period in the previous year, and the trend continued into January 2017.

In 2016, total visitor arrivals increased 3 percent and visitor expenditures increased 4.2 percent, both were higher than projected by DBEDT.

At of the end of 2016, value of private building permits was down by 18.2 percent.  Value of commercial and industrial permits decreased the most at 70 percent, while residential permits decreased by 12.3 percent.  Value of additions and alterations decreased by 1.7 percent.

According to the February 2017 Blue Chip Economic Indicators, most of the economies in the world will see steady economic growth in 2017 and 2018, especially the three major Hawaii visitor source countries – U.S., Canada, and Japan.  The U.S. economy will expand 2.3 percent, Canadian economy will grow 1.9 percent, and Japanese economy will increase 1 percent in 2017, where all of the growth rates are higher than those experienced in 2016.

With the economic data currently available, DBEDT expects that the economic growth rate will be 1.8 percent in 2017, and will slightly decrease to 1.6 percent by year 2020.

Non-agriculture payroll job count will grow by 1.2 percent in 2017, the same as projected in the previous quarter. Job growth is projected to be at 1.1 percent for the years after 2017.

DBEDT expects the unemployment rate will increase slightly in 2017 to 3.4 percent and will rise to 3.6 percent in 2020.

Nominal (no inflation adjustment) personal income is projected to grow at around 4.7 to 4.8 percent during the next few years, same as the projection in the previous quarter.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Hawaii personal income grew by 4.5 percent during the first three quarters of 2016.  DBEDT projects that real personal income will increase in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent in the next few years.

DBEDT lowered its projection on the consumer inflation rates to a range between 2.3 and 2.5 percent during the 2017-2020 period.  The actual consumer inflation rate in 2016, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 2 percent, lower than the 2.3 percent projected by DBEDT in November 2016.

The DBEDT Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report contains more than 120 tables of the most recent quarterly data on Hawaii’s economy as well as narrative explanations of the trends in these data.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/qser/.

Coast Guard Responds to Increase in Illegal Lava Boat Charters on Big Island

In the last 24 hours, the Coast Guard has identified two tour boats operating illegally out of Pohoiki Boat Ramp and is ramping up enforcement in response to a perceived increase in illegal charters operating in the area to view lava streaming into the ocean from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

The “firehose flow” at Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna ocean entry was clearly visible from the public lava viewing area established by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The viewing area is 800 meters (about one-half mile) from the ocean entry, but affords excellent views of the lava flow.

“Safety is always our top priority,” said Capt. David McClellan, chief of prevention, Coast Guard 14th District. “For boat operators, it is important to maintain situational awareness and not unnecessarily put yourself, your passengers or your boat in danger. For visitors, it’s important they check that their hired boat operators are licensed ensuring they possess the experience and training required to get them to the viewing area and back safely.”

Commercial tour boat and charter operators must possess the appropriate merchant mariner credential to operate. Masters of commercial charters operating in state waters are also required by the State of Hawaii to have a permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources and to keep that permit on the vessel.

For vessels carrying six or fewer passengers for hire, the operator must possess a Coast Guard-issued operator of uninspected passenger vessel license and operate on near coastal waters not more than 100 miles offshore, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101 (42)(B).

For vessels carrying seven or more passengers for hire on vessels less than 100 gross tons (not including auxiliary sail), the operator must possess a Coast Guard-issued master of self-propelled vessel license to operate on near coastal waters. The vessel must also have a Coast Guard-issued certificate of inspection posted in a visible location.

According to the National Park Service, the spot where lava meets the ocean is referred to as the “bench.” It is one of the most dangerous areas of the park because it could potentially collapse, sending dangerous projectiles into the air. The steam emitted where lava meets the water contains hydrochloric acid and glass particles. Tour boat operators are urged to maintain a safe distance from both to ensure their safety as well as that of their passengers.

More on information regarding licensing for charter boat captains can be found at: https://www.uscg.mil/nmc/credentials/charter_boat_capt/default.asp.

Hawaiian Air Line Pilots Reach Preliminary Contract Agreement

The Hawaiian Airlines Master Executive Council (HAL MEC) met today to consider changes to our PWA that have been negotiated by our pilot group’s Negotiating Committee, assisted by ALPA’s professional negotiators, financial advisors and benefits experts.

Hawaiian Air line Pilots reach preliminary contract agreement

We are pleased to announce that we have reached an Agreement-in-Principle (AIP) with Hawaiian Airlines that is subject to completion of a few parts of remaining contract language. The MEC resolution passed today, by a 3-1 vote, is attached to this message.

We believe that remaining language will only take a few days to complete. As soon as that happens, the MEC will reconvene to formally consider the merits of the tentative agreement (TA). If approved by the MEC, we will ask each active member to participate in the democratic process of our Union and decide whether it deserves ratification.

Before that, please know that there will be plenty of time to read the actual draft contract language, attend presentations that cover all changes, ask questions and get them answered, and then cast your vote. There will be no rush.

MEC members are already receiving calls, texts, emails and questions. It’s clear from many of these that facts are in very short supply. We urge everyone to wait until you have clear facts, the chance to ask questions and get them answered, and the opportunity for our pilot group to have respectful discussions and make our collective decision.

In the meantime, and to make sure that basic facts are known, you should be aware of a few key facts. Other less significant improvements and changes also deserve your attention and will be explained later.

  • The final agreement is much improved from the offer that the Company communicated to you in November;
  • Pay rates have been substantially improved and represent the competitive market for pilots and recent contract settlements. If a tentative agreement is approved and ratified:

o   12-year A330 Captain rates will be $290 on the date of signing, increase to $300 in 2017, and reach $337 in the last year of the PWA;

o   12-year B767 Captain rates will be $240 on the date of signing, increase to $250 in 2017, and reach $281 in the last year of the PWA;

o   12-year A321 Captain rates will be $235 on the date of signing, increase to $245 in 2017, and reach $275 in the last year of the PWA;

o   12-year B717 Captain rates will be $210 on the date of signing, increase to $220 in 2017, and reach $247 in the last year of the PWA.

  • The First Officer percentage of Captain’s pay (the “FO slope”) will increase immediately.
  • All HA pilots will receive very substantial ratification bonus payments consistent with industry rates that would have been in place for the equipment each of us has flown since the amendable date of the contract.
  • Our trip rig has been significantly enhanced (3.5:1) to provide more pay and credit for inefficient pairings.
  • An average min day (Minimum Flight Grouping Credit) has been established that provides pay and credit for inefficient trips.
  • Recurrent training pay and credit has been increased.
  • Retiree health benefits have been monetized and secured by a VEBA trust like the one that exists for our LTD benefits. That means that our retiree health benefits will continue to be industry leading, and be protected against merger or Company economic downturns.

Your unity and support have made this accomplishment possible, and we look forward to sharing full details with you in the near future.  Until then we urge you to avoid speculation, be skeptical of rumors, and continue to do the outstanding work you do each day.

HAL MEC

Island Air Announces Flight Expansion Plans

476 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, compared to the 266 flights per week it currently offers

With the addition of new Q400 aircraft to its fleet, Island Air has begun increasing the number of interisland flights to its schedule.

Island Air’s first new Q400 aircraft, named Ola Kūpono, which means “safety in everything we do,” began service on January 12, 2017. Photo courtesy of island Air

Over the next four months, Island Air plans to phase in new regularly scheduled flights that will significantly increase its roundtrip service between Oʻahu and the neighbor islands. The number of daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Kahului will double to 16; between Honolulu and Kona will increase from six to 10; and the number of daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu and Līhu‘e will grow from six to eight. The airline will also add flights to accommodate high travel days (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays) and spring break travel demands.

By the beginning of May, Island Air expects to offer up to 476 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island, compared to the 266 flights per week it currently offers.

“The added flight service is in response to growing demand from our customers and travel partners and also reflects the improved operational efficiencies of the new Q400 aircraft that are being phased into our fleet” said David Uchiyama, president and chief executive officer of Island Air. “The entire Island Air team remains focused on enhancing the interisland travel experience for residents and visitors, which includes providing more convenient options to island hop, either for business or to enjoy a weekend getaway or visit.”

Island Air’s first new Q400 began service on January 12. The aircraft is 30 percent faster than conventional turboprops, resulting in shorter flight times, which enables Island Air to operate more flights each day. The airline plans to add up to seven new Q400s by the end of the year and will transition its existing fleet of five ATR-72 aircraft out of service.

Island Air currently offers eight roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Kahului (one flight was added on Feb. 1), with three additional roundtrips on Fridays and Sundays; six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Kona, with one additional roundtrip on Fridays and Sundays; and six roundtrips daily between Honolulu and Līhu‘e.

Island Air’s flight schedule can be viewed at: https://www.islandair.com/flight-schedules

 

Hilo Community Supports State Efforts to Redevelop Banyan Drive and East Hawaii

Tonight at the Hilo Innovation Center in downtown Hilo business leaders, community leaders, tenants and lessees came together to listen to the Hilo Economic Development Plan presented by Jim McCully, spokesman of the Kanoelehua Industrial Area Association (KIAA).

Nearly 100 folks crowded the center and listened to presentations by McCully, HPM Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Jason Fujmoto and later on Senator Kai Kahele dropped in to say a few words.

SB1292/HB1479RELATING TO THE HILO COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DISTRICT.

Establishes the Hilo Community Economic District located in East Hawai`i and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawai`i Community Development Authority.

SB1184/HB1310RELATING TO THE WAIAKEA PENINSULA REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT.

Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee and Revolving Fund.

Jason Fujimoto opened the meeting explaining why the meeting was called together. Fujimoto stated, “I know to some that the words economic revitalization may sound big and scary but in my mind it really boils down to the definition of community and community is a place where we live, where we work, where we learn and where we play and all of the components that make that happen.”

Fujimoto turned the microphone over to Jim McCully who explained some of the history of Banyan Drive and why economic development throughout all of Hilo, especially areas like KIAA are so important.

Senator Kai Kahele was able to make the end of the meeting and he stressed how important it was for the community to stand behind all the bills introduced this session and to contact our State legislators that will hear the bills in committee. He also thanked the broad range of community members that attended and also thanked his fellow Hawaii Island Legislators, Hawaii County Council members as well as the County of Hawaii Planning Department for their support and collaboration.

Ground Crack at Kīlauea Ocean Entry is Cause for Concern

Due to the instability of the sea cliff above the ocean entry and other hazards created by molten lava flowing into the sea, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has established a viewing area (noted by yellow arrow in photo) from which the ocean entry can be seen in relative safety.

A thermal image taken during HVO’s overflight of Kīlauea Volcano’s ocean entry on Jan. 25, 2017, revealed a hot ground crack in the sea cliff just above where lava is flowing into the sea.

Because the crack suggested an unstable sea cliff, HVO geologists briefly visited the site on foot for closer observations and measurements this past weekend.

Carefully approaching the site in protective gear on Jan. 28, HVO geologists determined that the eastern end of the hot crack was about 30 cm (11.8 in) wide and deeply cut into recent lava atop the older sea cliff.

The western end could not be accessed due to poor air quality, spatter fallout, and other safety concerns. This crack could be a precursor to collapse of an unstable section of the sea cliff, making the site extremely dangerous for anyone who ventures too closely to the ocean entry by land or by sea.

Using a thermal image of the crack above Kīlauea volcano’s ocean entry (steam from lava flowing into the sea is visible at the top of the left photo), HVO geologists determined that the temperature within the eastern end of the crack is up to about 220 degrees Celsius (428 degrees Fahrenheit).

At Kīlauea’s ocean entry on Jan. 28 and 29, the interaction of molten lava flowing into cool seawater caused pulsating littoral explosions that threw spatter (fragments of molten lava) high into the air.

During one exceptionally large burst, spatter was thrown about twice the height of the sea cliff. These ocean entry littoral explosions, both large and small, create hazardous conditions on land and at sea.

Some of these incandescent clasts fell on top of the sea cliff behind the ocean entry, forming a small spatter cone.

Business Community to Host Meeting on Legislative Efforts to Revitalize Hilo and Banyan Drive

On Tuesday, January 31, a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on improving the East Hawaii economy will hold a community meeting to discuss legislative efforts that will guide in the revitalization of Hilo and Banyan Drive.

The coalition includes Kanoelehua Industrial Association (KIAA), Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hawaii (JCCIH) and Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB).

The public is invited to attend and hear from coalition representatives and area legislators on the various, proposed economic development measures that have been introduced this legislative session (see full list below). The measures are aimed at providing much-needed tools and mechanisms to attract investment and foster partnerships that will help revitalize the local economy while promoting a healthy environment where East Hawaii families can thrive.

  • When: Tuesday, January 31
  • Time: 4:30–5:30pm
  • Location: Hawaii Innovation Center, 117 Keawe Street in Hilo, Room #105 (corner of Keawe and Kalakaua Streets)
  • Parking: Street parking only

After the community meeting, the coalition will work with the public and the Hawaii Island delegation to advocate for the various proposed measures (full list and descriptions below, with links to download bills).

The coalition thanks the hard working East Hawaii Caucus that introduced the bills: Representative Mark Nakashima, Representative Richard Onishi, Representative Joy San Buenaventura, Representative Christopher Todd, Senator Lorraine Inouye, Senator Kaialii Kahele, and Senator Russell Ruderman

List of 2017 29th Legislature bills promoting East Hawaii’s economic interests introduced by members of the East Hawaii caucus:

HB 575 / SB 274 – Authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend state land leases when the lessee makes qualifying substantial improvements to leased public lands. Download HB 575, SB 274.

HB 1310 / SB 1184 – Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee, and Revolving Fund. Download HB 1310, SB 1184. 

HB 1469 / SB 1185 – Establishes procedures for designating public land redevelopment districts, planning committees (including powers and duties), district redevelopment plans, and designated revolving funds. Modifies public land lease restrictions. Download HB 1469, SB 1185.

HB 1479 / SB 1292 – Establishes the Hilo community economic district and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Community Development Authority. Establishes a revolving economic development fund and designates a percentage to be transferred to the special land and development fund under the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Download HB 1479, SB 1292.

Kona Historical Society Awarded $28,000 Grant From Hawaii Tourism Agency

Kona Historical Society has been awarded a $28,000 grant from Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to support its Hands On History program at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm in Captain Cook. This engaging and interactive program allows visitors and residents the opportunity to experience first-hand traditional crafts, trades, practices and foodways that were common on an early 20th century Kona coffee farm.

“We are very grateful that HTA will be supporting this successful program for a second year. The grant enables Kona Historical Society to share traditional practices that, in many cases, can be experienced nowhere else,” said Gavin Miculka, Kona Historical Society Assistant Program Director and Farm Museum Manager. “With this grant, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm becomes a unique venue for shared experiences between visitors and residents that facilitates deeper connections to Kona’s rich history and culture.”

Kona Historical Society, a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Smithsonian Museum affiliate, will use the funds from the HTA Community Enrichment Program to support unique interpretive talks and hands-on living history demonstrations, each featuring one of 10 activities, hosted by staff members and volunteers. The activities are roasting coffee using traditional home methods, lauhala weaving, Japanese calligraphy, traditional medicinal gardening, sustainable vegetable gardening, Japanese pickling, mochi making, tofu making, Sashiko crafts, and Japanese floral arrangement. Hands On History will happen two times each week and be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at the farm.

Kona Historical Society launched Hands On History at the Kona Coffee Living History Farm in March 2016 with support from a grant from Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii County’s Research and Development Department. At the time, the program was offered only once a week and featured eight activities. The program quickly grew in popularity and now demands more days.

For four decades, the Kona Historical Society has collected, preserved and shared the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawaii through its educational programs, historic sites and preservation projects. Its Kona Coffee Living History Farm is a “must see” Hawaii attraction and the only living history coffee museum in the nation. A self-guided experience, visitors talk story with the costumed historians while discovering the history behind Kona’s famous gourmet crop and the people who helped make the industry what it is today. The farm is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and is located at 82-6199 Mamalahoa Highway in Captain Cook, near mile marker 110.

For more information, call Kona Historical Society at 808-323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org. To get the latest updates regarding Kona Historical Society programs, historic sites and special events, “LIKE” Kona Historical Society on Facebook.