DOTA invited stakeholder groups to a meeting on January 28, 2020, to discuss utilization of the south ramp of Honolulu airport and redevelopment and future assignment of space.
The consultants contracted by the DOT presented a conceptual “preferred alternative” to the current utilization to accommodate the projected growth of general aviation (part 135 and part 91 operators), air cargo, and airport/aviation maintenance operations for the next 20 years. Cargo operations are projected to need three times as much space as present, general aviation about twice as much, and maintenance operations including repair facilities, security and fire fighting facilities are considered ‘flat’. The consultants used accepted available industry metrics to arrive at these projections.
The HDOT and their contractors, emphasized that total projected needs can be matched to the available south ramp space, with some modifications to airport infrastructure, including aircraft movement areas. The “preferred alternative” plan necessitates the realignment of “Taxiway Charlie”, the elimination of taxiway RB, and the construction of a new taxiway in its place. These realignments generate more available space on the Ewa side of the ramp. Under this plan air cargo operators would occupy a contiguous area on the west side of the south ramp, effectively displacing the T-hangars and GA ramp parking, which would be relocated to the Diamond Head end of the ramp. Part of the airport/aviation support facilities could be moved to the Kalewa subdivision, involving realignment of Lagoon Drive and the airport service road. Significantly, it was proposed to use floating docks moored along Lagoon Drive (Sea Lane 04) to accommodate helicopters during daylight operations. While this plan does not shortchange any of the current stakeholders at face value, the devil will be in the details in implementing this proposal. The audience commented on the problems of moving everyone to their ultimate location without interruption to operations and business. Everyone at the meeting recognized that implementing this plan is analogous to a Tetris game. I predict that the implementation strategy will eliminate the T-hangars first and we should pay close attention to what the plans are for small aircraft parking and hangar space if this proposal is enacted.
Additional meetings with individual stakeholder groups (air cargo, GA, helicopter ops) are planned for late February to discuss details of the “preferred alternative” plan and its implementation. It is interesting that these groups will be addressed individually.