An airline is complaining that passengers are getting lost and missing their flights because of a lack of road signs helping them find an out-of-the way Hawaii airport.
Mokulele Airlines is the first commercial airline to offer service out of a west Oahu airport that’s at a former naval air station. On July 1, the airline began offering three roundtrip flights a day to Kahului, Maui, out of the Kalaeloa Airport.
“We’ve had a lot of no-shows because people miss the flight because they can’t find the airport,” said CEO Ron Hansen.
There’s no airport sign on the freeway, and the road to the airport has a series of merges and turns through some unpopulated areas.
Despite the lack of signs, the airline has decided to add more flights from Kalaeloa, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday. Next week, Mokulele plans to begin three daily round trips between Kalaeloa and Hoolehua, Molokai, and two daily round trips between Kalaeloa and Kapalua, Maui.
“We’ve asked the (state Department of Transportation) to put up the normal signs that occur all over the 50 states, and they’ve yet to do that,” Hansen said. “We’ve asked and asked and asked. We’ve even put up little signs ourselves — like campaign signs— but the community takes them down because they’re not approved.”
The transportation department is working with the city and county and other state agencies to post signs, said Ross Higashi, deputy director of airports.
Hansen said if the state fails to follow through with the signs, Mokulele Airlines might have to pull out of service at the airport.
“We invest a lot of money in these flights — a considerable amount of money — and it’s like we’re playing with one hand tied behind our back,” he said. “When people can’t find the airport, how do you expect an airline to survive? We just hope the state does its part.”
Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney said flights out of Kalaeloa provide an alternative to Honolulu International Airport and help with development on the island’s west side.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com