Skydiving business to resume operations, but police warn customers to stay away
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu skydiving company has been taking reservations for flights this weekend at Dillingham Airfield, but police are warning customers they could be cited or arrested.
Skydive Hawaii repeatedly said on Facebook this week it is restarting weekend operations beginning Saturday. The company says it will require face masks, check temperatures and blood oxygen levels of those participating.
“I feel like they’re putting people over profit,” said Maile Rogers of the Facebook group “Mai Hele Mai,” a branch off of the group “Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers.”
"We may have flattened the curve and slowed it down, but we haven't eradicated it yet," said Rogers.
In a statement, Frank Hinshaw of Skydive Hawaii said:
"We are under FAA jurisdiction, not state or city. Our airport is open and planes are using it. Aviation is essential and our business is conducted under the provisions of FAR Part 105.”
However, a Honolulu Police Department spokesperson said, “Flight instruction and tandem skydiving are non-essential under the governor’s sixth supplemental proclamation. Violators are subject to warning, citation, or arrest.”
HNN asked the FAA who’s right, but a spokesperson only provided a vague answer saying the authority lies with whoever has jurisdiction over the airport.
The military actually owns the land but says the state Transportation Department has jurisdiction.
State DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara said that “skydiving is a non-essential business."
“It is not possible to maintain social distancing while tandem skydiving and sends the wrong message to visitors who must abide by the 14 mandatory self-quarantine order,” he said. "While we expect companies to abide by the order during this pandemic, the state will be prepared to respond if necessary.”
Rogers understands why Hinshaw wants to start flying again but says it's just not the right time.
"We all want to get back to work and we can't because of this pandemic. If we need to be responsible, so does everyone else," said Rogers.
Hinshaw tells us he believes HPD is misstating the governor’s emergency order, but he’s speaking with his attorney to determine if he’ll restart on Saturday.
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