The Naval Air Station Barbers Point had quite the history but like many bases across the nation, they were being reevaluated and major budget cuts were made. It was decided that this base would be closed in 1998 and turned over to the State of Hawaii. The base was being divided up with various agencies having authority. The Department of Transportation, Airports Division certainly took on the airfield footprint, except for Hangar 111 which was deeded by the feds to the University of Hawaii for educational purposes only. From the onset, the DOT-A managed the new Kalaeloa Airport as a liability rather than the asset it is. Master plans were developed but as we review them today, twenty years or more from the date they were established, we would not give high marks to those responsible for implementing those plans. I understand the financial commitment required for an airfield that is not directly supported by major airlines, but Kalaeloa deserves better than it has received. I will continue below to share my comments about the DOT-A and the various business that have struggled to operate over the years
In May of 2008, the sale of Bradley Pacific Aviation to Ross Aviation was finalized. I stayed on to manage the company until November. In December, I started Oke`e Aviation Services and was interested in doing business at Kalaeloa Airport. I met with Ben Schlapack, Oahu District Airport Manager to discuss my interest in providing fuel at Kalaeloa. I was aware that the DOT-A was moving to put in fuel tanks of their own and put out a "Request for Proposal" to operate the system. The DOT-A was not involved in fuel operations at any other airport in the state and I told them that they should not start now. I would prefer to acquire a land lease and develop my own facility and not just operate something the state would build. DOT-A was only interested in someone operating their system. The DOT-A not only had to build the facility but needed to develop a "Fueling Facility Lease" document which was going to take many months to complete.
Without having preferred options I submitted a letter of interest to the DOT-A in 2009. When Ben Schlapack passed away in 2009 and Jim Pratt replaced him, I sent in an additional letter of interest and then again in 2010 to ensure my interest was current with DOT-A.
The terminal and tower facility is certainly a historical building and it continues to provide services to aviation operations today. FAA air traffic control, DOT-A offices, flight school and terminal access to airport operations areas are all part this facility.
Reggie Perry was a long time Hawaii aviator that saw an opportunity at Kalaeloa Airport. He developed a flight school as well as the first aviation fueling operation that allowed growth for the airport. Read more.
Naval Aviation Museum Barbers Point
Brad Hayes developed a museum that operated for nearly 20 years . Read more
Jacob Straube manages the aircraft painting business that his dad, Jim started in Maui back in 1985. Read more about how the Straube's finally found a home.
The development of individual hangars for private aircraft owners.
When the N.A.S. closed, the base turned over the fuel storage to the state as well. The facility included 2 - 500,000 gallon Jet-A tanks and 2 - 30,000 diesel and unleaded gasoline tanks (if memory serves) along with a operations/lab building. The tanks were supplied from a pipeline from "Red Hill". DOT-A Fire Chief Marty Jacobs put out an RFP to the FBO's to manage the fuel storage facility. This was absurd for many reasons. Now that the Navy was gone, what was the need for this antiquated, enormous, floating bottom tanks. NONE! The pipeline was certainly being removed. We told them that it was a joke. The state didn't like our attitude. The other FBO's put in a proposal. They didn't have a clue. It didn't take long before the Navy agreed to remove the GIANT tanks. I knew then that the leadership for Kalaeloa was indeed questionable.
In 1968, as a new Coast Guardsman, I graduated from structural mechanic "A" school and requested to be stationed at U.S.C.G. Air Station Barbers Point. I didn't get it. I was sent to U.S.C.G. Air Station San Juan
but eventually found my way to Oahu.
When the Naval Air Station closed, it was discussed that the Coast Guard relocate to Kaneohe. The Coast Guard insisted on staying at Barbers Point. If they didn't insist things would have been different at Kalaeloa. The airport may have been closed completely. You can always count on the Coast Guard to do the right thing. Semper Paratus!
Cash is KING! I recognize the State of Hawaii's support of the film industry but at times it can be at others expense. The making of "Kong Skull Island" took over a large footprint of the Kalaeloa tarmac for a number of weeks. I guess the helicopters were the link to aviation usage.
The above text came from Million Air's website. It all sounds wonderful but I not only disagree with their analysis but find the State of Hawaii's romance with Million Air to be inappropriate. I will expand on my thoughts...