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DOT cuts lounge fee at airport in Hilo


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POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2009

The state Department of Transportation has reconsidered the 371 percent increase it had planned to charge airlines for using the Hilo Airport waiting lounge and will instead raise those fees just 3.3 percent.

Hawaiian, go! and Mokulele airlines now only will have to pay $4.04 a passenger — up from the previous fee of $3.91 — rather than the $18.43 a passenger that the DOT had implemented as of July 1, the DOT said yesterday. Furthermore, the DOT said the latest revised fee is retroactive to July 1.

“;In light of the questions/concerns recently raised regarding the reported holdroom rate at Hilo International Airport, the DOT-Airports Division worked with the airline providers at Hilo Airport to clarify and confirm their intentions and preferences regarding the uses of the Hilo facility,”; Brian Sekiguchi, deputy director of airports, said in a statement.

Sekiguchi said some of the factors used to compute the holdroom, or waiting lounge, rate include operating and maintenance expenses, incoming federal grant money, size of the holdroom itself, the projected amount of air travel in and out of Hilo, and preferential gate-use rates, which means a carrier would get a discounted rate for meeting certain criteria and operating a greater number of flights in and out of any given airport.

Sekiguchi said the previous rate of $18.43 had been calculated under the assumption that Hawaiian would be requesting preferential gate-use rates as it had in previous years. However, the DOT said that after further discussions it was determined that Hawaiian would not be making a formal request for a preferential gate at Hilo.