Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Airport workers free
to park in interisle area

Question: Many of us travel frequently to the neighbor islands. Unfortunately, the interisland parking terminal is usually full, so we must park in the mainland terminal and schlepp our luggage. I've been told that airline and airport employees are allowed to park in the interisland terminal, and that is why there aren't spots available for the customers who pay their salaries. If this is true, why can't the employees park in the mainland terminal, and to whom do we write to complain about this situation?

Answer: State airport officials are aware of the problem and are looking at ways to increase the number of public parking stalls at the terminals, as well as ways to encourage people to use the commuter parking area.

But there is no way to prevent employees from using the public parking facilities if they pay the going rates, according to Scott Ishikawa, spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

You can park in the public areas at either the interisland or overseas terminal -- as well as the open lot in between -- either by taking a ticket and paying by the hour, up to a maximum of $10 a day, or by buying a monthly pass for $100.

Employees of the airlines and other airport businesses are required to pay the same rates, Ishikawa said.

There is a separate parking area for employees at the top of the overseas terminal parking structure that is accessible only through the use of a monthly parking card, he said. The cost is $60 a month for general airport employees and $40 a month for state employees.

But airport officials note the demand for parking at the interisland terminal has increased with Aloha and Hawaiian adding mainland flights to their schedules. They find that mainland flight crews park their cars there longer than interisland flight crews.

"We are looking at the parking situation around the interisland terminal and will be addressing increased parking needs for interisland travelers soon," Ishikawa said.

Airport officials have considered raising monthly parking rates for the interisland terminal.

However, Ishikawa said they recognize that through collective-bargaining provisions, the airlines would pay for most of the parking rate increases for employees, thus raising the costs to the airlines.

Since the airlines would pay for a significant portion of the parking fee and any fee increases, pricing alone has not worked at making the interisland terminal less attractive to employees and having them park in the area with lower monthly rates, he said.

To make more parking available for passengers, the Airports Division is looking at controlling access between the overseas and the interisland parking structures. Traffic now flows freely in either direction via an access road between the parking structures.

To keep people from entering the overseas parking structure, then heading to the interisland parking structure, a "directional change" and parking control devices would be needed, Ishikawa said.


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