Hawaii will receive $17,014,671 to build an aircraft rescue and fire fighting building at the Kona International Airport at Keahole, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa announced today.
The money comes from a grant administered by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"These funds will help the fire fighters and first responders at the Kona International Airport house and properly maintain the equipment they need to handle any emergency. Recent statistics show us that visitor arrivals and spending are up this year and ensuring safe and efficient air travel for our residents and visitors is vital to maintaining the health of the industry. I would like to thank the administration for this critical investment," said Senator Inouye.
"Kona's airport is a critical pillar for the Big Island's tourism industry, for businesses, and for visits to family and friends. This grant will keep Kona moving by investing in safety upgrades at the airport," said Senator Akaka.
"For the last two months, Hawaii's visitor industry has seen record-breaking numbers. On Hawaii Island, visitor arrivals are up over 8 percent and visitor spending is up nearly 13 percent in 2012. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Kona International Airport can also expect a 14 percent increase in direct incoming flights between July and September. This growth is good, but it underscores the need to continually upgrade and maintain our airports' emergency response resources. Construction of the new aircraft rescue and fire fighting facility will help Kona International Airport better ensure the safety of both visitors and local residents," said Congresswoman Hirono, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"This grant is an excellent investment in both Hawaii's first responders and the safety of our travelers. Our visitor industry remains a primary driver of Hawaii's economy, so the development and maintenance of our airport facilities should be a core concern for our community. We all thank the U.S. Department of Transportation for its support of our airport facilities, and for its acknowledgment of the importance of our travel facilities to our state and our economy," said Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.
The construction of an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) building will extend the life of the ARFF equipment by protecting it from adverse weather conditions.
Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) occupies 3,450 acres of land about seven miles northwest of Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii. The airport accommodates domestic overseas, international, interisland, commuter/air taxi, and general aviation activities.
KOA has an 11,000-foot runway and a complex of facilities at the eastern edge of the airfield for arriving and departing passengers, air cargo and mail, airport support and general aviation operations.