Hawaii Aviation Forums Aviation Legistation UPDATE: DOTA meetings with Honolulu South Ramp Tenants

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    • H. Gert
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      DOTA met with stakeholder groups on January 28, 2020 to roll out the “preferred alternative” of the south ramp of Honolulu airport developed by a consultant group. The justification is a combination of undefined safety issues and future space needs, especially by air cargo operations. It may be obvious that traffic issues can arise from mixing heavy aircraft, helicopters, and small fixed wing aircraft but the nature of these problems was not spelled out.

      Cargo operations are projected to need three times as much space as present, general aviation about twice as much, and maintenance operations including repair facilities, security and fire fighting facilities are considered ‘flat’.

      The “preferred alternative” plan necessitates the realignment of “Taxiway Charlie”, the elimination of taxiway RB, and the construction of a new taxiway in its place. These realignments generate more available space on the Ewa side of the ramp. Under this plan air cargo operators would occupy a contiguous area on the west side of the south ramp, effectively displacing the T-hangars and GA ramp parking, which would be relocated to the Diamond Head end of the ramp. Part of the airport/aviation support facilities could be moved to the Kalewa subdivision, involving realignment of Lagoon Drive and the airport service road. Significantly, it was proposed to use floating docks moored along Lagoon Drive to accommodate helicopters during daylight operations. While this plan does not shortchange any of the current stakeholders at face value, the devil will be in the details in implementing this proposal, which was the subject of meetings held with several stakeholder sub-groups on February 25. How the invitee lists were prepared remains a mystery and the list was certainly not comprehensive. I found myself among a group of FBO executives, where I did not belong. The two meetings I attended had only a few concerned parties in attendance. I would go as far as to say that there were more DOTA officials and consultants than stakeholders in attendance. For what it is worth, legally or practically, these meetings cannot be equated to a public hearing.

      The consultants proposed several stages for the project based on existing leases with various tenants. Expectedly, T-hangar tenants are the low hanging fruit because of monthly lease agreements. T-hangar occupants will thus be ‘evicted’ first. To accommodate these tenants the plan proposes the establishment of temporary tie-downs at the Diamond Head end of the airport, between the departure ends of runways 4R and 8L. For obvious reasons this precipitated an animated discussion. Uncovered tie-downs are an unacceptable alternative for a large number of aircraft owners that seek to protect their significant investments from salt spray and hurricanes. DOTA officials immediately backtracked and proposed Quonset huts as temporary equivalents to T-hangar spaces, similar to those erected at Kona airport. It was also commented that support businesses such as A&P mechanics and avionics shops need to be able to function under reasonable conditions while south ramp reconstruction takes place. Finally, it is obvious that getting to the departure end of the runway from this ‘temporary’ area will be the equivalent of a cross-country exercise during which aircraft will either have to cross 08L or transition past the departure end. As one of the attendants quipped: “pray for Kona wind conditions”.

      FBO managers were concerned whether they would be guaranteed a lease after the reconfiguration. Apparently, the state governor was in favor of an auction of the land to maximize the financial return but in order to qualify for federal funds from the FAA this is not possible. Additional questions concerned the area of land available for FBO’s and the number of T-hangars that will be eventually constructed to replace the existing hangars. Additional concerns were the possibility to increase private general aviation needs beyond the plan presented.

      Please express your concerns to the plan manager, Ms. Agnes Fisher at agnes.o.fisher@hawaii.gov .

      Share your concerns with the GACH community.

       

       

      Stay tuned.

    • Mathieu
      Participant
      Post count: 2

      Thanks for the great Synopsis!

    • Claudio Friederich
      Participant
      Post count: 11

      While I find the plan disturbing in many ways, the way these meetings are being conducted is disturbing in and of itself.  The distribution list of the e-mail from dota announcing the meeting listed the hangar tenants only.  The tenants with only tie-downs were not notified at all.  As tie-down tenants we have a much smaller financial stake in all this, and seating is limited, etc., I accept that.  But not informing us at all?  The south ramp tie-down tenants would be displaced along with everyone else.  Doesn’t that give us the right to be informed?  I only know of this plan through an acquaintance who has a hangar, and was invited, who mentioned the meeting to me in conversation at an unrelated gathering, and kindly forwarded me the plans he had been sent, and now, through this post.  The follow-up meeting is supposedly on Wed. Feb. 25, but I have no idea whether if I show up, dota will even let me in the door, or turn me away with no parking validation, since I was never “invited” to these meetings.  Does anybody know?

      As to the plan itself, I highly question the motivations for the plan.  The consultants may have used “industry-standard methodologies”, but were they informed of dota’s customary behavior?  Dota seems to do everything in its power to make ga feel unwelcome, and we went from a waiting list to a 40 some % vacancy in a few years, everybody leaving in droves, and the plan cites a doubling of ga demand?  A tripling of cargo demand?  According to people who have been flying already when I was in diapers, there is no unfulfilled demand for cargo in the islands.  We don’t need a doubling of the space, we need the space we have to be maintained properly, and for the hangar roofs not to leak, and to be charged equitable rents under fair terms.  The rail is 5+ years behind schedule, and 5+ billion over budget.  That does not inspire confidence for a project as large as proposed for the south ramp.  During the project, the displaced tenants will go where, for years longer than planned?  Awesome, how can I sign up?

    • Claudio Friederich
      Participant
      Post count: 11

      Sorry guys, couldn’t attach the plan.  Too large for the system.

    • Claudio Friederich
      Participant
      Post count: 11

      Further notes: I got in contact with Fisher, Agnes O (agnes.o.fisher@hawaii.gov), project manager.  He was under the impression that all tenants, including south ramp tenants, had been invited.  So, any tenant who is not aware of these plans was mistakenly left out when sending the meeting invitations.  The focus group meeting for the hangar (and presumably, tie-down tenants) is February 25, Tuesday, at 6 pm-7 pm, at 6 pm-7 pm, at the 7th floor conference center.  I urge all tenants to attend who are able.  I also advised Agnes Fisher to get in contact with GACH to reach any who should have been invited but were not sent the information.

    • H. Gert
      Participant
      Post count: 4

      I also contacted Agnes to ask if it was OK to post the invitation on social media or share it with this forum since I suspected that the invitee list was comprised of only those who signed in at the first meeting. She asked me in no uncertain terms that these invitations are not to be shared on social media or otherwise (with reference to a non-disclosure statement at the end of the message to me). On the other hand she encouraged me to direct interested parties to contact her so they could be assigned to one of the ‘groups’ that have separate meetings.

      The confusing part is that I received an invitation at a different time on that day targeted to “Small fixed-wing tenants”. Apparently, there is a different focus group of “T-hangar tenants”.

      Note that I am neither mentioning the date or the times of these meetings to comply with the DOTA request not to disseminate this information.  I encourage those of you who have received an invitation to any of these sub-group meetings to share what you will learn.

       

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