APEC to ground some air traffic

Mark Jones
Mark Jones

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The blades atop Makani Kai Helicopters spin seven days a week, taking tours over Oahu's scenic spots. But come November, the company's choppers will be grounded for two days.

"This will be probably the first time that I've ever been told that you cannot fly at all - period," owner Richard Schuman said.

It's the same story at Mark Jones's flight school called Moore Air. He said flight schools, air tour outfits, and amateur pilots will not be able to fly on the weekend of November 12-13 because of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

"We look at it as loss of profit and a loss of business for our customers who are sometimes challenged time-wise to complete their training. That affects them as well," he said.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the U.S. Secret Service will declare Oahu a No Fly area for private aircraft the weekend President Barack Obama and economic heads from 21 countries hold the APEC Leaders Meeting.

The order will not affect commercial carriers.

The Secret Service and the Federal Aviation Administration will not discuss the order. But Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said "information will be released in a timely manner to ensure that all airmen are notified properly."

Schuman said his company is already alerting customers to the grounding.

"We are taking November bookings," he said. "But in our computer system those two days are blanked out."

Schuman said he will lose 28 flights during the APEC weekend but expects a long range return from the world seeing Hawaii as a destination location. He has booked 20 international journalists on scenic flights the week before APEC.

Jones is also staying positive on the No Fly Order.

"We can get some maintenance done on the airplanes," he said. "We can also get some ground training done with the students at the school, in fact we can get a little simulator training done."

The only thing Moore Air will not be able to do is fly.

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