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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.

Hokulea Crew Overcomes Major Navigational Challenge and Finds Rapa Nui

The crew of Hokulea arrived safely at Rapa Nui today after sailing for about 16 days across approximately 1,900 nautical miles of deep ocean. A team of four apprentice navigators successfully lead the Hokulea and the major navigational challenge of spotting the tiny remote island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) yesterday at sunset. The crew spotted the island about 43 nautical miles out.

“Finding Rapa Nui was by far one of the biggest challenges our crew has faced,” said Hokulea captain, Archie Kalepa. “With a few more months left in this journey, we’re glad to be back in Polynesian waters and for the opportunity to reconnect with the Rapa Nui community.”

This is the first time Hokulea has visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site since her last voyage to the island 18 years ago. The Rapa Nui arrival also marks the voyaging canoe’s return to the Polynesian triangle since departing these waters three years ago on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

The team of apprentice navigators have been working together on navigating and turning studies into practice since departing the Galapagos Islands on February 12, 2017. They have been guiding the way by using their knowledge of the stars and taking directional cues derived from their observations of nature. Because of its tiny size and remote location, Rapa Nui is considered one of the most difficult islands to find using traditional wayfinding.

After making landfall in Rapa Nui, the crew will be joined by a teacher and student delegation from Hawaii and the group will spend the week participating in cultural and educational engagements with Rapa Nui leaders and the community.  Activities will include meeting both the Governor and Mayor of Rapa Nui, a visit to the kupuna (elders) of Hare Koa Tiare Care Home, and a tour of Museo Rapa Nui. The crew and delegation will also connect with the Toki School of Music for a day of community service and voyaging outreach.

With famed archaeological sites including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai and an isolated environment rich with unique diversity, the small volcanic island of Rapa Nui represents an opportunity for the crew to learn more about the island’s status as a World Heritage Site as well as the strong cultural history of its Polynesian ancestors.

Following Rapa Nui, Hokulea will sail to French Polynesia before her return home to Magic Island on June 17, 2017.

Next Step Taken in Potential Recovery For Rescued Pueo

The cargo handlers at Hawaiian Airlines, like anyone else who spotted it, thought a dog or a cat was in the carrier that arrived at Honolulu International Airport for shipping yesterday morning.  Inside this particular crate was a pueo, or Hawaiian short-eared owl, that made headlines across the state recently after a seven-year-old Oahu girl, her father, and another man rescued it from the side of a road.  DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) biologists and the veterinarian, who first treated the bird’s broken wing, believe it likely flew into some sort of line.

Yesterday DOFAW biologists Afsheen Siddiqi and Jason Omick transported the injured pueo to the airport, to be loaded on a Hawaiian Airlines jet for the short-hop to Kona on Hawai‘i island.There, staff from the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center met it to begin its rehabilitation and physical therapy.  Siddiqi said, “At the moment the pueo is stable and it is more active than it was when it originally came in.  It is still receiving pain medications for its broken wing.” She explains the rehab experts will determine whether the bird can be released back into the wild.  If that doesn’t happen it could be sent to a zoo for educational display or in the worst case it could be put to sleep. That would happen if the pueo continued to need pain medications because its wing did not heal properly. No one wants the pueo to suffer indefinitely. Siddiqi believes its prognosis will be clearer in 2-3 weeks.

7-year-old Malia Rillamas spotted the bird sitting on the side of a North Shore highway on the afternoon of Jan. 15, 2017. She asked her dad Jonathan, to pull over.  Then another man, Brian Smith stopped and for the next 2 hours the trio watched over it, until an officer from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) arrived to take it to Aloha Animal Hospital. For their efforts the Rillamas’ and Smith were presented with DLNR’s first-ever “Citizen Conservationist” awards. Young Malia became the toast of her classmates and asked if she could name the Pueo? DLNR/DOFAW biologists said sure, and she named it “Sunshine,” or Pa ‘ana a ka la.

Due to their declining population the pueo is classified as endangered by the DLNR on O‘ahu only. The species is also protected statewide by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Pueo Resued Follow Up Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Aviation Caucus Convenes at Hawaii State Capital

A bipartisan group of State Senators and House Representatives along with pilots and aviation enthusiasts today gathered at the State Capitol for the first meeting of the newly formed Hawai‘i Aviation Caucus.

The Hawai‘i Aviation Caucus was established to foster and promote all forms of aviation, to support legislation that creates jobs, improves transportation between the islands and beyond, and bolsters the aviation business climate in Hawai‘i.

Photo via Hawaii Senate Majority

“Aviation is vital to our state’s economy and welfare, so it’s only in our best interest that we work together to ensure that we have a thriving aviation industry here in Hawai‘i,” said Sen. Kai Kahele, who co-convenes the Caucus with Rep. Angus McKelvey.  “This is just the start of a continuous working group that I hope will further engage those who support aviation and want to see it prosper.”

Hawai‘i has a robust aviation history dating back to its first flight in 1910.  Since then, Hawai‘i has played a vital role in the development of both commercial and military air travel. Today, with fifteen public use airports in Hawai‘i, the aviation industry produces over 4,100 jobs and $742 million in economic output.

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.”

Waika’alulu Gulch Bridge Repair Feb. 27th – March 1st

The Waika’alulu Gulch Bridge No.44-6 (TMK:4-4-009:009) located mauka of Highway 19 on Ka’apahu Road, near the intersection with Apelanama Road, will be closed for repair work between the hours of at 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. beginning on Monday, February 27, 2017 through Wednesday, March 1, 2017, weather and construction conditions permitting.

The bridge will re-open the end of each workday by 2:00 p.m.  Motorist are advised to use alternate routes during the bridge closure hours.

The repair work involves the rehabilitation of the existing bridge structure which includes replacing the old timber components with new wood preservative treated components.

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the community for their patience and understanding.  If there are any questions or concerns, please call Barett Otani, Information and Education Specialist, at 961-8787.

Hawaii Electric Light to Conduct Aerial Line Inspections Next Week

To improve system reliability, Hawaii Electric Light Company will conduct aerial line inspections of its major overhead transmission lines from Tuesday, Feb. 21, to Friday, Feb 24, 2017.

The island-wide inspections are scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. However, exact times and routes will depend on weather conditions. Inspections will be conducted in a Manuiwa Airways helicopter and require the aircraft to fly low and slow which may cause some noise disturbances.

Hawaii Electric Light apologizes for any disruption this may cause and sincerely thanks the community for their cooperation and understanding.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

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.

Hawaiian Airline Pilots to Hold Ratification Vote

Hawaiian Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) have reached a Tentative Agreement on a 63-month contract amendment covering the airline’s 665 pilots, the company announced today. ALPA will hold a ratification vote scheduled to take place between March 6 and 24. If ratified, the amendment becomes effective April 1 and remains in effect until July 1, 2022.

“I am pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement that offers our pilots a significant increase in compensation,” said Jon Snook, Hawaiian’s chief operating officer and the company’s lead negotiator.

The company reached new accords in 2016 with three labor unions representing more than 2,200 employees. It is currently in negotiations with the Association of Flight Attendants, whose contract became amendable in January.

Hokulea Sets Sail for Rapa Nui and the Navigational Return to the Pacific

The crew of Hawaii’s legendary Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea set sail today for Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, continuing the Worldwide Voyage’s Malama Honua global movement to care for our earth and marking Hokulea’s return to the navigational ocean currents that will lead her home.

During their visit to the islands of Galapagos, the crew of Hokulea invited teachers and students from James B. Castle High School, Kamehameha Schools and Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School to join them at the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Site in learning more about the islands’ fragile ecosystem and discussing best practices for how to conserve the earth’s most critical resources.

“Heading to Rapa Nui, Hokulea carries the invaluable lessons of global sustainability that were learned and shared at other UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Galapagos Islands,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “In addition to being a recognized global resource by organizations such as UNESCO, Rapa Nui signifies a major cultural return for Polynesian navigation and our Worldwide Voyage as we re-enter the Polynesian triangle, the birthplace of our wayfinding heritage.”

Hokulea is expected to port in Rapa Nui around February 28, weather permitting. The crew will stay on the island for approximately a week  before sailing on to French Polynesia. The crew will again be joined by a contingency of teachers and students from Hawaii.  The last time Hokulea visited Rapa Nui was on a voyage that took place in 1999.

Host to famed archaeological sites including nearly 900 monumental statues called moai, Rapa Nui is a remote volcanic island located in Polynesia under Chilean territory. Rapa Nui represents an opportunity for the crew to learn more about the island’s status as a World Heritage Site as well as the rich cultural history of its Polynesian ancestors.

The Malama Honua voyage will cover over 60,000 nautical miles upon its return home to Magic Island estimated this June.

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.

Speed Limit to Increase 60 MPH on Portions of Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road)

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) will be replacing speed limit signs on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (also known as Saddle Road) beginning Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

Approximately 70 new speed limit signs will reflect an increase in speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph. The increased speed limit takes effect Feb. 7 from mile post 11.88 on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway to its intersection with Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190).

“I listened to my constituents who asked for a speed limit change on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway and I am pleased we were able to make it happen for the people of Hawaii County,” said State Senator Lorraine Inouye, Senate Transportation Committee Chair.

Motorists are required to follow the posted speed limit, which remains 40 mph at the Pohakuloa Training Area and 45 mph between mile post 19.57 and 20. A gradual decrease in speed approaching the intersection with Mamalahoa Highway (Route 190) will also remain in place.

Crews will work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the shoulder lanes starting from the west, or Kona, side of Daniel K. Inouye Highway moving towards Hilo. No lane closures are anticipated as part of the sign replacements.

All speed limit signs in areas affected by the increase should be replaced within a week, weather permitting.

HDOT is coordinating with the Hawaii Police Department on this speed limit increase.

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

WWII Tuskegee Airman Colonel Charles McGee Packs Them in at Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor and 400 guests paid tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and the vital role they played during World War II with a special “WWII Tuskegee Airman Hangar Talk” by decorated WWII Tuskegee Airman Pilot Colonel Charles McGee. The event commemorated African American History Month.

Colonel McGee fought in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and holds a record for one of the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in United States Air Force history. Colonel McGee began his military service as one of the Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Group. The Tuskegee Airmen were pioneers who fought racial prejudices to fly and fight for their country during WWII. His career in the U.S. Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force spanned 30 years and three wars, where he flew 409 aerial combat missions. During his military career, Colonel McGee was awarded the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal (25 times).

Also honored at the Hangar Talk was WWII Tuskegee Airman Philip Baham. Baham served as a crew chief for the 337th Composite Group at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Baham is a dedicated volunteer at Pacific Aviation Museum, sharing his story with visitors as a greeter in the lobby of Hangar 37.

The day before, on Friday, February 3, more than 250 Honolulu students in grades 6—12 were invited and attended another Museum presentation geared towards youth entitled, “In His Own Words,” presented by Colonel McGee.

“It was such an honor to have a veteran pilot of Col McGee’s stature and distinction speak with us,” said Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor Executive Director Kenneth DeHoff.

Prior to 1940, African Americans were prohibited from flying for the U.S. military. Even in light of extreme racism, African Americans fought to defend their country, which led to the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of WWII. Their dedication to defending the freedom of all Americans and their acts of heroism paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. Tuskegee Airmen completed more than 1,500 missions.

Commentary – Serious Roadway Safety Issues on Highway 11

There are serious roadway safety issues on Highway 11 between Kuakini Highway/Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension intersection and Hawaii Ocean View Estates. First and foremost, the asphalt pavement is in dire need of being resurfaced for most of this highway. Both the HDOT and Hawaii County are responsible for maintenance, which they’ve done a poor job over the years.

The poor condition of the pavement of pales in comparison to a much larger issue though. There is serious roadway design deficiencies on the Highway 11 between Captain Cook and Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. These design deficiencies are amplified by a serious speeding issue  that has resulted in many car accidents and fatalities.

I believe HDOT, and to a lesser degree Hawaii County, need to take action to improve Highway 11. Firstly, both departments need to evaluate the condition of the asphalt pavement, and formulate a multi-year plan to resurface this highway. The HDOT also should evaluate what safety improvements are possible between Captain Cook and Hawaii Ocean View Estates.

There is a lot of sharp turns in between Ho’okena and Miloli’i, a distance of 15 miles, that will require the reconstruction of this segment of Highway 11.  These safety improvements should include an expanded shoulder pull off areas. This will aid the police in enforcing the speed limit, especially since there is a lot of people who drive
like they’re on the Indy 500.

There is a underlying issue to the chronic speeding though. These scofflaws are stuck are in traffic between Henry Street and Kamehameha III Road, so they speed to get home quicker. This why these safety improvements won’t be complete unless the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway Extension/Kuakini Highway proceeds.

These safety improvements won’t come cheap. This is why the legislature needs to allocate enough funding to the HDOT, so they can maintain their existing inventory of roads and add capacity.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Big Island Police Identify Man Who Died in Motorized Cycle Crash in North Kona

A 59-year-old Kailua-Kona man died from a truck and motorized cycle crash Thursday afternoon (February 2) in Kaupulehu, North Kona, near the 27-mile marker of Māmālahoa Highway (Route 190).
He has been identified as Robert Abeyta.

Responding to a 3:13 p.m. call, police determined that Abeyta had been traveling north on Route 190 on a motorized cycle when he swerved left into the northbound lane of the highway and was struck by a 2009 GMC pickup truck operated by a 35-year-old Waimea man also traveling north.

Abeyta sustained critical injuries from the collision. He was taken to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:40 p.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a coroner’s inquest investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has any information about the crash to call Officer Kimo Keliipaakaua at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

This is the fourth traffic fatality this year compared with none at this time last year.

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

 

Partial Road Closure of Highway 130 (Hilo Bound Lane) Next Week

Hawaii Electric Light announces the partial closure of the Hilo-bound lanes on Keaau-Pahoa Road from Monday, Feb. 6, to Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017.

The makai side of the road, about 1,000 feet before Shower Drive, will be closed to traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Pahoa-bound lanes on the mauka side of the road will be open for two-way traffic flow. Traffic control officers will be on site. Motorists are advised to drive with caution and plan for delays.

This week, Hawaii Electric Light crews installed four hurricane-class transmission poles ranging from 75-90 feet and weighing up to six tons. Next week, crews will complete the transfer of power lines and equipment from the existing poles to the new poles. The completion will allow the state of Hawaii to install traffic signals at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road and Shower Drive as part of its road widening improvement project.

If there are any questions or concerns, please call 969-6666.

42-Year-Old Woman Dies From Wreck Last Week Identified as Chantel Kaaumoana

A 42-year-old Hilo woman has died from a single-vehicle crash the evening of January 23 on Haku Nui Road in Captain Cook.

She has been identified as Chantel Kaaumoana.

Chantel Kaaumoana

Responding to a 9:24 p.m. call, police determined that a 1981 American Jeep operated by a 34-year-old Captain Cook women had been traveling west on Haku Nui Road when the driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to overturn. The collision caused Kaaumoana to be ejected from the vehicle and to sustain life-threatening injuries.

She was taken to Kona Community Hospital and then transferred to The Queens Medical Center on Oahu for treatment of her injuries. She was pronounced dead on Wednesday (February 1) at 11:34 a.m.

Traffic Enforcement Unit officers have initiated a negligent homicide investigation and have ordered an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or who has any information about the crash to call Officer Justin Hooser at 326-4646, extension 229. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Because this crash occurred on a private roadway, the death is not counted toward the official traffic fatality count.

University of Hawaii Keeping Close Watch on Impact of U.S. Travel Restrictions

University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner and the chancellors of the 10 campuses shared a message on January 30 to UH students, faculty and staff.

UH President David Lassner

To our UH System ʻohana:

With the issuance of the recent Executive Order on travel, our first concern is for our impacted students, faculty and staff who are currently abroad or have plans to travel abroad. The situation is fluid as courts weigh in and different guidance is provided to holders of green cards. Out of an abundance of caution, the best advice as of this writing is that individuals with immigrant or non-immigrant visas or with green cards who are originally from the seven named countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) should defer travel outside the U.S.

Our international students and scholar support offices are already reaching out directly to the impacted students and faculty we know of with additional support and guidance. Faculty and scholars from across the UH System with specific questions and concerns about their situation can reach out to our Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services office. Students who have specific questions should reach out to their campus international student service office.

More fundamentally, we stand in support with the broader higher education community in our concern over the impact of this restriction on the free flow of information and ideas that is enriched by our international students and scholars. The University of Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi and our nation have been immeasurably strengthened through the diversity of the students and faculty we attract. The fundamental values of our nation and our state have long supported the welcoming of others to our shores and embracing them into our communities.

Diverse knowledge, ideas, cultures and perspectives enrich us immensely as we work toward a better future for all. We will support our professional associations and colleagues who are working to promote more effective solutions to keeping our nation safe.

Aloha,
President and Chancellors