Mazie Hirono, Hawaii’s newest U.S. Senator, met with U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to discuss the essential air service for Kalaupapa.
The meeting, held during the second week of June, also covered the importance of Honolulu’s rail system, for which the city secured a full funding grant agreement in December 2012.
When the subject turned to Kaulapapa, The two discussed continuing to ensure quality, essential air service to Kalaupapa. Mayor Foxx noting the importance of such service for the isolated peninsula’s vulnerable population.
“He (Foxx) understood the importance of essential air service for Kalaupapa,” said Hirono. “Reliable and affordable air transportation service for this community is a lifeline. I look forward to working closely with Mayor Foxx after he is confirmed as our next Transportation Secretary.”
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation unanimously approved Foxx’s nomination before it went to the full Senate. Foxx was easily confirmed and sworn into office last Tuesday as the nation’s 17th Secretary of Transportation. Foxx, 42, received a unanimous 100-0 confirmation vote in the Senate on June 27.
Pacific Wings lost the federal contract to serve the Kalaupapa settlement after complaints about unfair and exorbitant pricing and inconsistent service. Using federal subsidies, Makani Air offers flights to Kalaupapa at less than half the price of the almost $500 round-trip fares Pacific Wings used to charge. Makani Air replaced Pacific Wings in January of 2012. Makani Kai also started scheduled service between the Ho’olehua airport and Honolulu in June.