The sections are my way of dividing the narrative to the various pages, Sections have no official significance.
Back in 1982, the first business you came to as you passed the old bayan tree was Doris Tom's Scenic Air Tours. The triangle lot was designed as such because of the BRL (building restriction line) from runway 8L-26R. All other lots BRL is designated from runway 4R-22L (except for a sliver of the corner of Blue Hawaiian Helicopter lot). This triangle lot has seen various tenants with Trans Air being the tenant for many years after moving into the hangar Doris built.
Old Lagoon Drive
Scenic Air Tours
Doris Tom started in the tour industry back in 1956 when she worked for McKenzie Tours. By the mid 60's she developed her own business, Waikiki Circle Tour & Travel. In 1971, she joined Panorama Air Tours and by 1975 she was its president. In 1980, Panorama had 18 Beech 18 aircraft and became the largest air tour taxi due to her efforts. When Doris requested equal
partnership and the owners declined, she moved down the street and started Lani Bird Inc, dba Scenic Air Tours. She took Floyd Goodyear (Panorama's chief pilot) to assist with the new operations. In 1983, I met Doris Tom and Floyd Goodyear, when I was V.P. and Director of Maintenance for Rainbow Islands Cargo. RIC made arrangements to rent a portion of land that Doris leased from the state. I utilized part of the old terminal foundation to put up a temporary maintenance facility. I also brought Seagull Air Hawaii's DeHavilland Heron to the ramp. See more photos, articles and stories below.
another Doris Story...
1989 was pretty much the end of Scenic Air, when N34AP crashed in Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. The accident pushed Doris into bankruptcy.
The DOT-Airports completed the realignment of Lagoon Drive which established a new address for operators
Doris Tom had just gone through many months dealing with the aftermath of a fatal aircraft accident. First the loss of life and then her business and those employees that depend on their jobs. The federal bankruptcy was imminent but Doris was indeed a fighter and I have to give her some credit for never giving up. Benny Younesi did not wear a white hat but he did arrive in the nick of time...even though it never should have happened. Doris signed on to continue as General Manager for one year and then retired just months before another catastrophic aircraft crash.
Honolulu Star-Bulletin 6/14/89
Trans Executive Airlines dba Transair started back in 1982, when Teimour Riahi bought a Cessna 402A and flew between the islands carrying small packages. He has developed his cargo business for forty years from that first twin Cessna to a fleet of aircraft including his Boeing 737's.
I have known Teimour for all of those years. I remember him flying into Kahului, Maui with the Cessna. I would be at my desk at Hemmeter Aviation and he would pull up to the avgas pump, early in the morning, for fuel to return to Honolulu.
Tiemour and his wife, Marjan have been involved in every aspect of this operation for nearly four decades including Teimour flying each of the aircraft in his fleet. There are many stories over the years about this inter-island cargo operation and how they have survived the many aspects of doing business in Hawaii.
The B737 accident in 2021 was another issue to handle but Teimour continues to find away to keep flying boxes between the islands.
In 2010, Oke`e Aviation Services was contracted to develop a full Fixed Base Operations (FBO) at Honolulu International Airport. From business plan, equipment acquisition, staffing and operation plan.
My first advise was 'Don't do it". There were already 3 FBO's in Honolulu, a fourth would find it difficult to obtain market share.
Teimore wanted to proceed.
The time-line was to be ready to open for APEC 2011
Transair Center serviced ONE aircraft during APEC in November 2011 and closed its FBO ops.
Benny Younesi / Scenic Air
Bayan tree relocated but didn't survive
Offshore Helicopters, Inc.
100 Iolana Place #A
Randy Spears started Offshore Helicopters back in Dec. 1992. He provided rotor-wing flight training as well as sight-seeing flights.
DCCA - June 2018 involuntary dissolution
My only comment on Offshore Helicopters is about their trailer office. When Ben Schlapak was the airport manager he always tried to help the little operators as much as the air carriers, which I appreciated but It was not always in accordance with airport rules as published. This would cause inconsistencies with various approvals. When Offshore was looking to find space he assisted by allowing a trailer be moved into place on the old Lagoon Dr. in 2006 on a 30-day revocable permit. When Bradley Pacific Aviation started in 1998, the DOT-A came out with new rules for use of trailers at the airport. Offshore's trailer did not meet those standards. In fact, Bradley Pacific was the only operator that was held to the standards published in 1998.
Makani Kai Helicopters / Makani Kai Air / Magnum Helicopters
The Schuman's have been in the transportation business in Hawaii for four generations with Richard taking to the sky.
Schuman Aviation Company, Ltd.
Makani Kai Helicopters was founded in 1988 and is Oahu's oldest and most experienced helicopter tour operator. The firm started with one Hughes 500 and grew substantially over the years. Richard Schuman recognized the need and opportunity to service various airports in Hawaii and operated the right aircraft to meet those needs.
A few more comments;
Transair cargo operations
2. Open lot (not currently leased) used to park aircraft (airworthy & unairworthy)
Ramp space at times is limited.
3. Magnum Helicopters / Richard Schuman
4. Open lot (not assessable to ramp/taxiways) When it was first developed, it was used as an airport employee parking lot. During construction of various projects at the main terminal it displaced employee parking areas, so they moved it to the south ramp.
The DOT-A provided a regular shuttle between the south and north ramps. The bus
shelter was part of the efforts and remains today (without the shuttle). The lot then was
used by various car dealerships as was many lots on Lagoon Dr. I remember when I
was interested in purchasing an Infiniti, I drove to the dealership at the intersection of
Lagoon and Nimitz and the salesman drove me back to a lot on Lagoon Drive. Most
tenants paid less than the industrial appraised price to lease land, where the car
dealerships paid a premium. The car rental companies also utilized the lots. It certainly was helpful to the DOT-A to have the income.
5. In 2011, while assisting Transair with their new entity "Transair Center", I approached
Jim Pratt, the airport manager at the time, to develop a taxi lane, parallel to Iolani Place.
This would be consistent with all lease lots on Lagoon Drive, each aviation lot having
access to ramps and taxiways. Transair Center was looking to develop hangars for
cororate/private jets. For many months there was positive discussions until one day Ford Fuchigami (airport administrator) told me that they had no plans for a taxi lane.
Without having a taxi lane this lot is not as attractive to an aviation user. I guess the state
will just have to continue to rent to car dealerships for a higher price.
6. I also discussed the possibility to extend the ramp area for additional aircraft parking.
I'm sure that Hawaii Life Flight had that same conversation. HLF has just enough
pavement in front of their facility to gain access to the taxiway.
7. Hawaii Life Flight
8. Open lot to park new cars.