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Finding A Home

at Kahului Airport

As stated previously, it wasn't going to be easy setting up operations at Kahului Airport. The competition was not happy with our entry into this market. Air Service Hawaii, Circle Rainbow Aviation and Century Aviation were adamant in keeping us out and made every effort, including multiple complaints to the DOT-Airports and other agencies.  The complaints were unfounded but the Deputy Director of Transportation / Airport Administrator and some of his staff continued to make it difficult. He had already stated that he would not allow us to operate and when we pushed back with FAA rules and regulations he relented but reluctantly. Approvals would not come easily .

The East Ramp at Kahului Airport was never well developed. The terrain is sloped, uneven with a lot of blue rock making any development very expensive. Other than the heliport and Jim Falk's hangar, the few facilities are on revocable permits.

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East Ramp

The Air Service Hawaii and Circle Rainbow facility was initiated by me years earlier. Before the new main terminal was built, Untied Airlines was using a five trailer modular unit for their boarding gates. Once the terminal was completed the DOT-A removed it and the various pieces were stored in the maintenance base yard. It was there for many months before, as Managing Director of Circle Rainbow Aviation, I met with John Sakamoto, Airport Manager to suggest that it be reassembled on the east ramp for an FBO facility. He was already in talks with a local church to buy it, but agreed that my idea would better serve airport needs. He asked if I would be willing to split it with Air Service Hawaii for they needed a facility as well. I agreed. The DOT-A reassembled it in a matter of weeks and started charging a monthly rent on a revocable permit. Air Service Hawaii has been in the facility now for over 25 years.

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United Airlines / Gates
FAA Tower
Circle Rainbow Aviation - East Ramp

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Years earlier in 1986, Hemmeter Aviation bought the Maui Flight Center and then rented the adjoining buildings from DHL The collective property is still on a revocable permit today (except for the fuel storage tanks)

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The State of Hawaii has spent millions of dollars on Master Plans for the Kahului Airport with continued development for  airlines but very little for general aviation and the many small businesses that try to operate there. Without a long term ground lease no lender would provide the capitol necessary to develop a facility. 30 day revocable permits do not work well for lenders. If you went ahead and built a facility on a permit and the permit was revoked, you would be required to remove any improvements. My nearly forty years at Hawaii airports has seen little support for general aviation​

Back to Bradley Pacific finding a home...

Knowing that years earlier I was able to develop the Circle Rainbow Aviation / Air Service Hawaii facility, I initiated  a revocable permit for a small area next door but what would we put on this land.

Building a new facility would not work for a number of reasons... building permits as well as DOT-A approvals would be difficult. We searched for a small facility that could be moved on to the rented land. We found a small building up country in Keokea. This little home had been rented for the past several years and the owner was not looking to rent but to sell the home. We became aware that the land at this home was on government land that was to be used for agriculture only. This individual put this house on the land at basically no cost and payed next to nothing for the land. No agriculture was ever produced


We researched the background on the who's and why's of this building. If purchased, could we relocate it to the airport? We decided to move forward. We paid $10,000 dollars for the building. Late one night, we moved the little house to the Kahului Airport.


The DOT-Airport Administrator was not happy with a building just appearing at the airport. He became aware of its presence from our competitors. Without any written document requesting approval, we asked to meet to verbally layout why we feel that this structure should remain on the east ramp.


We advised the DOT-Airports the following... In 1986, when the new Kahului Airport terminal was beginning to be developed, with state and federal funds, certain individuals involved in the terminal development got creative and removed one of two buildings. The buildings were located next to an airport engineering structure and under the control of the DOT-A and rented out to various agencies, one being U.S. Customs. The building was not necessarily required to be moved to make way for new terminal, but it was. No auction, sale or documentation took place. It found its way upcountry were it produced rent income for years until one night it returned to the airport. Before we moved it, we checked with Maui County and they had no record of this building in Keokea but confirmed they showed it at the airport. 


When we completed our discussion about this interesting building with DOT-A powers to be, they agreed that it never left the airport and was just relocated to its new footprint on the east ramp. Meeting adjourned. 


When we purchased the building we paid with a Bradley Pacific check and at year end we sent out 1099's to those vendors as required by federal tax law. The 1099 for the house purchase was not well received. 

When we first started our revocable permit, we paid $40 per month for the land under the building.  BPA's Station Manager, David Bond along with staff did the renovations to allow operations to begin in earnest .  All three of the competitors were somewhat baffled...  how soon they forgot that they all were in facilities that were developed by me.  More issues  were coming our way but handled each one and moved on.

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The remaining building, a duplicate to BPA facility still in place today.

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Recognize the 5 trailers that made up the modular facility use by ASH /CRA

Bradley Pacific Aviation

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Our next move was to work with DHL which held the revocable permit on the primary facility of Century Aviation. I had a good relationship with DHL from my days with Hemmeter Aviation as their tenant. When Century purchased Hemmter in 1990, they acquired Hemmeter's position. I knew that Century Aviation was behind on their rent to DHL for months. I was also aware that the revocable permit held by DHL was in violation of DOT-A rules. Revocable permits do not allow to be sublet. DHL's aviation operation had left Hawaii many years before and holding this permit should not have been allowed. It was fine years earlier when I was the sub tenant but now it was different story. I orchestrated an arrangement that corrected the discrepancy to the satisfaction of DHL, Bradley Pacific Aviation and DOT-A...Century Aviation not so much. 

Bradley Pacific Aviation was growing quickly and needed additional facilities. All Island Avionics held a revocable permit, next to the FAA Control Tower, which had a trailer and substantial land for employee and equipment parking. Revocable permits are not transferrable from one entity to another but if you take over that company through a stock purchase you can legally  

continue with the RP. Bradley purchased All Island Avionics and airline fuel operations moved in.

The next expansion at the Kahului Airport came when we were successful on obtaining Century Aviation in bankruptcy court. We added a not so nice building and fuel storage facility.

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We always knew it was going to be difficult but our best weapon was the rules and regulations as written and our high standards for excellence.         No doubt we had to maneuver carefully and not alienate the support we needed and I believe we did so extremely well.

This was all done in a period of five years.

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