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HI AIRPORTS

"I thought I would share some comments and opinions of my 40 years at the state airports and working with the

DOT-Airports Division"

Tom Anusewicz

State of Hawaii / Department of Transportation - Airports Division
This not a State of Hawaii - DOT site / My personal design, comments and opinions.
various links to State of Hawaii Department of Transportation website pages and documents

Deputy Director of Transportation / Airport Administrator 

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Owen Miyamoto
1969-1996
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Jerry Matsuda
1997 - 2002
Roy Sakata
Acting - 2002 
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Davis Yogi
2002 - 2003
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Brian Sekigushi
2003 - 2010
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Ford Fuchigami
2010 - 2014
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Ross Higashi
2014 - present

During my 40 years of operating at the airports in Hawaii, the state leadership had many faces. I operated under the direction of 6 Governors, 11 Directors of Transportation, 6 Deputy Directors and 21 District Airport Managers. With the various agendas and levels of expertise, it was not always easy to navigate. My intent is not to disparage any individual but to make comments on specific events, and decisions and how they effected our business .

As of January 2022, I am retired. I have enjoyed my years in this industry, but I must say working with the State of Hawaii government was a challenge.  I will share my personal comments from the many interactions over the  years and supplement with various news articles of days gone by.

red star indicates additional link / info.

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Let
the
AIR
out of Politics

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FAA -ATC- HNL

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1950  - 1962
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1962  - 2002
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2002 - present

Oahu District Managers

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Barry Fukanaga
Stanford Miyamoto
1985- 1996
1997 - 2002
Ben Schlapack
2002 -2009
James Pratt
2009 - 2015
Roy Sakata
2015 - present-
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I look back at my years at HNL by the aircraft that flew in and out of the main airport in Hawaii. I arrived on a Lockheed L1011 to start working on a GAF N24B Nomad, Beech 18's  and DC-3'S. Then I flew as a flight engineer on a Boeing 707.  The airport changed as the aircraft did. The current main terminal had been in place for about 20 years before I arrived and we have seen the number of gates increase dramatically over the years. The new FAA tower came about 20 years after my arrival in 2002. The new tower allowed for HNL Center to be moved from Diamond Head to utilize new technology. We also saw the many changes with airlines. Airline closures and mergers were a sign of the industry volatility. Pan American World Airways and Trans World Airways departure was truly a historical change and locally Aloha Airlines no longer flying the skies of Hawaii.

All of these changes, kept the DOT-A busy. All of the agendas kept the users busy trying to navigate. It all depended on where you were in the food chain... airline or general aviation. If you were not an "airline"  bringing  passengers to our tourist base economy your voice was not always heard.

Every aviation business regardless of size supported the bigger picture in some way.

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The Barbers Point Naval Air Station closed in 1999 and was transferred  to the State of Hawaii. For the past twenty plus years the state has been trying to make sense of this important airport. Master Plan? 

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I'm working on it.

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Air Traffic Control
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FSDO
Flight Standards District Office
Lagoon Drive

The FSDO did not have direct oversite of fueling operations at state airports. If we were contracted to fuel a certificated airline, then we would be reviewed to ensure that fuel operation were performed in accordance with that airlines approved manuals.  The local FSDO had jurisdiction over only those local airlines that were certified by their office. 

United Airlines was certified in Chicago and that FAA FSDO had jurisdiction, Delta; Atlanta. etc. Each airlines along with the FAA inspectors reviewed our fuel operations at regular intervals.

ADO
Airports District Office
Federal Building - Ala Moana Blvd.

The ADO primary responsibility was to ensure that the airport operator receiving  federal funds were in compliance with the Code of Federal Regulations / FAR Part 139.

The Honolulu ADO was responsible for airports in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas.

I called on their assistance on a couple of occasions but it was clear that their relationship was with the State of Hawaii DOT-A and didn't (couldn't) assist with questionable DOT-A decisions.

Will give an example at Kahului Airport / Davis Yogi.

more on FAA in Honolulu

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The DLNR is dedicated to managing, administrating, and exercising control over public lands, water resources, ocean waters, coastal areas, minerals, and other natural resources of the State of Hawaii.

The DLNR is headed by an executive board and is composed of seven members, one from each land district and three at large, and the chairperson, who is the executive head of the department. Members are nominated with consent of the Senate and are appointed by the Governor for a four-year term. No more than three members can be from the same political party and any member having an interest in any matter before the board must recuse themselves from voting or discussing the matter.

Each and every acquisition of land at the state airports must meet the approval of the DLNR board regardless it is a long term lease or a month to month revocable permit. Over my many years at Hawaii airports, I have had numerous occasions to wait for final approval from the board on my request airport properties. The request arrives at the DLNR after DOT-A initial approval and the airports property manager is at the board meeting to answer any questions they may come up. I have also attended board meetings when my requested property is on the agenda to provide testimony if required.

In most cases, if the DOT-A has approved the property, the board has approved it. 

I have not been impressed by certain board members of the board with their questions and rationale for denials or their rude comments to those that might question their position.

I also feel that at times the board is inconsistent with their position.

An example of one my dealings with the DLNR is regarding property at the Kona International Airport.

Maui District Managers

Tom Hanchett
Jon Sakamoto
Dale Tsubaki
1972 - 1986
1986-2004
2004 - 2006
Roy Sakata
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Marvin Moniz
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2006 - 2007
2007 - present
acting

I spent a great deal of time at this airport over the years and certainly have seen the incredible changes made to the main terminal side... the east side not so much. Tom Hanchett served as the manager for 14 years and I only got to work with him in his last year. Jon Sakamoto was his assistant

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until Tom's retirement in 1986. For the next 18 years, I had the pleasure of working with Jon, as he oversaw the growth of tourism in Maui. After Jon, we had to wait for Marvin Moniz before we saw an airport manager that not only had the experience but the demeanor to work with the many companies that were needed to make an airport work. Will comment further soon.

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JMH is the three letter designation for Kapalua Airport, which stands for John Henry Magoon, president of Hawaiian Airlines back in the day. Hawaiian Airlines developed this private airport in 1989 to better serve the Kaanapali coast.  Chris Hemmeter had already built the Hyatt Maui and was redesigning the old Maui Surf Hotel into the new Westin Maui. He started utilizing the new airport with his Rockwell Turbo Commander 690B aircraft from Honolulu. No jet activity was allowed at this airport, so my involvement was minimal over the years. The DOT-A took over the ownership of the airport in 1993. 

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When Dave Murdock of Castle & Cooke developed the hotels, The Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay in the early nineties, the influx of  visitors

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demanded airport improvements. When the new terminal was built it allowed the old terminal to be utilized by Circle Rainbow Aviation and then Bradley Pacific Aviation to conduct private aircraft servicing.    In 2015, Oke`e Aviation Services was contracted to Pulama Lanai for several years to assist with their aviation requirements. More soon.

I had very little interaction with this airport. It was only on rare occasion that we would service aircraft on Molokai. No fuel.

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Hawaii District Managers

Frank Kamahele
1979-1999
Eugene Narimatsu
2000 - 2002
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Chauncey Wong Yuen
2003 - present

Kona International Airport

Back in 1986, I joined the team at Hemmeter Aviation and took on the role of FBO development on the neighbor islands. When I first came to Kona, I would meet with Frank Kamahele at his office at the maintenance base yard. He only came over from Hilo a few days a week. Frank and I had good relationship and we would talk story longer than the usual meeting. Frank was extremely proud of the new airport and was excited for its future. After Frank retired, we had various airport managers and in 2003, Chauncey Wong Yuen arrived to provide the leadership. I knew Chauncey from Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines and was thrilled when he was selected as District Airport Manager for the Big Island. Chauncey has done an excellent job but certainly answers to the Deputy Director of Transportation and subject to the agendas of each administration.

Each year you would see millions of dollars pour into various projects and plans to meet increased tourism.  It seemed that once a master plan and environmental assessment was completed, they would selected another company to do it again. Each plan showed incredible design and infrastructure. The south ramp primarily was considered a general aviation area and has not had the full support of DOT-A since its conception over thirty years ago.  Example; The commuter terminal (trailers) was built in 1992 as a temporary facility and nothing has changed in those years.

See more at "South Ramp"

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Hawaii Assistant District Managers

Hilo International Airport

I'm working on it.

Larry Balbarino
Jim Davis
Steve Santiago
1990-  2005
2005 - 2009
2009 - present
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Indefinite?
Don't think I would get to far with this badge today.
In the late 80's, I received one badge that gave me access to all state airports. There were only several issued and I used it for a year or so, when it was recalled, when it was decided to keep them within DOT-A management only.
 

Kauai District Managers

Frank Flores
1989 - 1991
Dick Coffin
1988- 1989
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Stan Sekimoto
1992- 2003
George Crabbe
2004 - 2011
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Roy Sakata
2011 - 2012
Dennis Neves
2012 - 2017
Craig Davis
2018 - present
Ralph Foster
1972- 1988
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Lihue Airport

I first arrived in Lihue at the old terminal when Ralph Foster was the airport manager.

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Championed by Marty J.
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Fuel Handling Procedures at Public Airports
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Martinez Jacobs

Martinez Jacobs is the Airports Fire Chief (Senior Firefighting Staff Officer) . He has been in that capacity for about thirty years or so. In all my years of pumping fuel, at the state airports, my relationship with Mr. Jacobs was adversarial. 

Airports Fire Chief
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Ross Smith
Property Management Manager

HI-DOT-A-PM / Property Management

Property Management was a department that I worked closely  with over the many years. The personal changed somewhat over the years but many had stayed on for years, retiring from the department. The businesses I worked with had various properties at all the major airports in the state. Some were leased property and other obtained on revocable permits. 

For the most part I have found the Property Managers and staff good to work with. My issue is more with the process. Policies are inconsistent depending how you fit within the administrations agenda. I had first hand knowledge on what assistance I may or not receive depending on who I worked for and how the administration felt about that business.

 Former Property Management staff - Tom Toyama / David Shimakawa / Les Yoshimatsu /Jason Koga /  Wilford Muramoto /  

I also recognize that Property Management  is understaffed for the number of airports that are responsible for. The Seattle Sea-Tac airport has twice the property staff for that one airport vs. Hawaii's nearly 20 airports.

Property  

more soon...