Ooj-osr- zooo -^nn2 NEIL ABERCROMBIE

1ST DISTRICT HAWAII

S1()-()S()723-()14
COMMITTEE ON
ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES

/^uHJ?X
/ ^ y ' # ^ N v O \

(JIongreBH of H E BnttEi ^ a t E B
HouBe of EepresentatfueB 18aal|in9t0n. S.OI. 2D515
July 18,2008 Secretary Mary E. Peters U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001 Dear Secretary Peters: I am forwarding you several letters I have received from my constituents regarding problems they have experienced in utilizing the essential air service from Pacific Wings. I would hope that you read their concerns and seriously consider how Pacific Wings has been negatively impacting the quality of life and the ability of those residing in Kalaupapa to access hospital services.

CD

'

••••:.i

1

XT

;:;j.^ C'i J -

c^";

^

"1
1 ;..>

rr-ico

^S _'o
2H

r—1

'.•3 I^J

o> " —

Sincerely,

Neil Abercrombie Member of Congress NA:rh

ORIGINATED FROM: • ^ W A S H I N G T O N OFFICE: 1S02 L O N G W O R T H H O U S E OFFICE B U I L D I N G , W A S H I N G T O N , D.C. 20515 (202) 225-2726 / 22&4SW FAX , HOME OFFICE: ROOM 4-104, 300 A L A M O A N A BLVD., HONOLULU, H A W A I I 96850 (808) 541-2570 / 533-0133 FAX Homepage: h u p : /www.house.gov/abercrombie/ E-mail: nei).abercrombie(^r rnail.house-gov

Jul

23

2008

2:32PM

HP

LRSERJET

FRX (808)573-2746

810-080723-014
p.2

Mar 12 06 12:53p

I

*Ka ^Ofiana 0\%aCaupapa
tt

E Ho'ohanohano a E Ho'omau... ...To Honor 4nd To Perpetiiate"
PO Bex 1111, KalaupAba, HawsU 96742

March 11.2008 Representative Neil Abercrombie U.S. House of Representatives 1502 Longworth House Office Building \ Washington. D.C. 20515-1101 I
I

Scait via fax
I.
I

j i First of all, mahalo for all your efTorts tojpass the Kalaupapa Memorial Act through the House of Representatives. EC^ *Ohana O Kalaupapa is excjted about flic progress of our proposal and al| the positive press coverage it has been generating lately. ; At its most recent meeting of the 'OhanajBoard of Directors, the community asked that we contact you to help addresi the transportation problems being experienced because of the new routes aiJKl schedules of Pacific Wings, the only regularly scheduled airline serving IjCalaupapa. Last year. Pacific Wings chsuQged its routes so there are no longer jany direct flights between Honolulu and Kalaupapa. All flights stop first on t(|pside Molokai, which means that most seals get booked by Molokai residehts. For Kalaupapa residents, tourists and government officials doing bjusiness at Kalaupapa, it^s often impossible to secure a reservation. Very bflen, the price is twice the cost

Dear Repxesentative Abercrombie,

Jul

23

2008

2:32PM

HP LASERJET

FAX (808)573-2746

SI 0-080723-014
^

Mar 12 08 12:53p

because residents are charged for two flights - one between Honolulu and topside Molokai and the other between t<9pside and Kalaupapa.
i

The community is also experiencing canieled or delayed flights, lost luggage and poor customer service with Pacific Wings. For other communities, the option would be to chopse another airlines. Kalaupapa does not have that option because Paciii^ Wings is the only regularly scheduled airline available. Pacific Wings apparently gave \]p the fedleral Essential Air Service subsidy for Kalaupapa, thus enabling the compaiiy Co conduct business at Kalaupapa with no obligation to previoiis requiremeiits. We have been told that Pacific Wuigs bid $0 for the Essential Air Servit^ contract which kept other companies fcom securing the contract. W|e don't know if this is true. People at Kalaupapa are elderly and of^eii need to make medical appointments on Oahu on short notice. It^s also difficult for fsauly and friends to visit at a time when residents of Kalaup^a need their fiamily and fiiends more than ever. The poor air service causesfirustrati<msthat extend beyond the community. We are including a petition signed by the residents of Kalaupapa that asks for help in addressing the problems create d by the poor service of Pacific Wings. In the past, the State Department of Health and Senator Daniel Inouye, among others, have attempted to ket Pacific Wings executives to listen to the community's concerns, but tcf no avail. According to a recent report. The State Department of Health (DOH) called Pacific Wings' CEO Greg Kahlstorf last >(ear to ''discuss the negative impacts of changes in the flight schedules^ non-performance of flights and new booking/billing policies where conndcting flights are charged as individual flights." There was no resolution and, according to DOH, Kahlstorf blamed these problems on a lacli: of qualified pilots. The National Park Service (NPS) also filed a formal complaint with the Federal Aviation Advmlnistration. Both DOH and NPS staff contacted the Fejderal Department of Transportation to see if there was any recciurse for the poor air service. Both agencies were told that Pacific Wings hadigiven up the federal Essentia] Air Service subsidy in March, 2007, and so was under no obligation to follow
I

Jul

23

2008

2:a2PM

HP LASERJET FAX (808)573-2746

SIO-OXO',
p.4

Mar 12 08 12:53p

any of the mandatory requirements that cjome with the subsidy. DOH also passed along the complaints of the patientts to U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye. The 'Ghana Board of Directors voted unanimously to send lett^^ to all members of the Hawaii U.S. Congressioi^ delegation to see if you can contact Pacific Wings and resolve this si^iation. It would be helpful if a representative fi'om Pacific W i i ^ would!meet with the community to hear their concerns and fiustrations - and then! take immediate steps to improve services. Anything you can do will be greatly appreciated. Mahalo again for your support of the Kalaupapa commimity. With aloha,
I

Kuulei Bell, President Ka *Ohana O Kalaupapa cc: Hawaii Bcitter Business Bureau

!

TTT

Jul

23

2008

2:33PM

HP LASERJET

FAX (808)573-2746

S10-0S0723-014
p5

Mar 12 08 12 54p

No Confidence in Pacific Wings Air Service
W^, Uie residents of Kalaupapa, Moloka'i, expres&iour disappoinunent in the air service provided by (he F^cific Wings airline. We have experiencbd a marked reduction in the quality of Pacific Wings airline service wilb cancelled flights, lost Itiggage, delayed flights, poor customer service and increased difficulty in making reservations tljat effectively allow us to obtain essential air services that we need to fly to Honolulu and back. ;This service is essential to accommodate both medical and personal needs of the Hansen's Diseajte patients and support staff as a result of our isolated iocation. Wc have received no recoivse iafter having expressed our displeasure to the Federal Department of Transportation, Senator Djaniel Toouye, the Pacific Wings CEO (Greg Karhlstoff) and the Federal Aviation Adniinisuraticjn. Because of the lack of the^response to our requests, we are forced, as a community, to agair^ express our displeasure and request that the problem of poor air service to our remote location be resolved as quickly as possible.

Signatories
Print Name /} Signature// Affibaiion

SI 0-080723-014
^
l i e rkAnnrfnMuttnf 1200 New Jersey Avenuo.SE

Office of the Seaetary odran^Mrtoflon

^ « „«««

SEP 0 2 2008

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie United States House of Representatives Washington DC 20515 Dear Congressman Abercrombie: Thank you for your recent letter to Secretary Peters regarding the concerns that your constituents have expressed about the scheduled services provided by Pacific Wings in the Kalaupapa-Honolulu market. The Secretary has asked that I respond to your letter. The Department has been monitoring the services provided by Pacific Wings for the last several months. As a result. Pacific Wings was notified by the Department that its 24hour flight cancellation policy lacked adequate notice and created a situation where the public could not reasonably rely on its schedule of flights as published. In response to the Department's concerns, Pacific Wings recently notified the Department that it was terminating its 24-hour flight cancellation policy and implementing a one-hour passenger check-in requirement. Under the carrier's new policy, as long as any passenger has purchased a ticket for a flight and checked in for that flight at least one hour before the flight's scheduled departure, the flight will operate as scheduled, absent of course an unforeseen mechanical or other problem. The Department will also continue to monitor the services in all the markets served by Pacific Wings and will take appropriate action if necessary. In that regard, my staff attempted to make a number of Kalaupapa-Honolulu i'eservations for the next several months, and all the attempts showed that seats were available from Kalaupapa all the way to Honolulu and back. In addition, your constituent mentions that there are times when Pacific Wings' flights are booked solid from Molokai to Honolulu, effectively blocking Kalaupapa passengers from making reservations through to Honolulu. As a result, we have examined Paciflc Wings* passenger loads between Molokai and Honolulu. Our analysis shows that during the past year. Pacific Wings achieved a 75 percent load factor on its Molokai-Honolulu flights, meaning that on average two or three seats should be available for KalaupapaHonolulu passengers. In addition, Hawaiian Island Air provides five nonstop round trips a day in the Molokai-Honolulu market with much larger 37-seat aircraft and Mokulele Airlines d/b/a goIExpress provides six round trips a day with nine-seat Cessnas. While less convenient than single-plane service, these cormecting opportimities do afford Kalaupapa additional service options.

SI 0-080723-014
-2-

Finally, if individual passengers wish tofilespecific complaints, they may contact the Department's Aviation Consumer Protection Division by phone at 202-366-2220 or via the Internet at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/escomplaint/es.cfiti. Ifl can provide further information or assistance, please feelfi:eeto call me. Sincerely Yours,
/i

yiyj^

Michael W. Reynolds Acting Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs

I ii'

III

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful