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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Lingle to look into helping United

By Lynda Arakawa and Kelly Yamanouchi
Advertiser Staff Writers

Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday she will look into whether there are ways to entice United Airlines to maintain service to Hawai'i as the carrier reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and considers nationwide route cuts.

"I know, in the past, people have looked at landing fees, but there may be other issues that they have concern with in Hawai'i that would entice them to not just maintain service, but actually to add flights into this state," Lingle said in one of the first comments indicating her possible approach toward the airline industry and its role in the state.

Lingle did not specify whether any efforts to entice United to maintain service might apply to all airlines or United alone.

John Thatcher, executive director of the trade group Airlines Committee of Hawai'i, said yesterday that because the state's airports receive federal dollars, "part of the restriction of receiving federal money is that all airlines have to be treated equally."

Thatcher said the state typically charges airlines about $35 million to $40 million a year in landing fees, as well as rental fees for property at airports.

Some airline representatives said they will wait to see what kind of approach the new administration takes toward the industry. United local officials welcomed Lingle's comments.

"I did really appreciate Gov. Lingle's interest regarding our situation," said Mike Navares, general manager for United Airlines in Hawai'i.