Private Jets Bring Wealthy to Hawaii
Movie stars, billionaires and corporate execs are arriving more often in private jets, and that’s good business for a host of local service companies
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“Between Christmas last year and New Year’s Day, I was working 18-hour days,” she says, adding that “strong optimism” best describes her outlook for her sector of the economy. “Our business is just getting warmed up.”
Conversely, Wayne Kuwaye, president of Kuwaye Trucking Inc., which was making as many as 16 trips daily from Hilo to Kona hauling up to 100,000 gallons of jet fuel, expressed “anxious caution” about a robust recovery for his livelihood.
That was largely due to increased competition from people who have been buying trucks to cash in on this lucrative sector and reducing the demand for Kuwaye’s services. “There are a lot more trucks on the road today,” he says.
Christopher Sauer, Kona station manager for Bradley Pacific Aviation, has spent 18 years at the helm of two different business-jet fueling and ground-handling operations on the Big Island.
“I saw a busy day go from two or three business jets parked (in 1994) to over 70 this past Christmas season,” Sauer says. Nowadays, the daily average is 2.5 jets parked, he says.
At Air Service Hawaii, marketing manager Claudia Tzaschel has noticed over the years that Honolulu only seems to attract celebrities when they are shooting movies, quarantining pets or refueling planes. “They’d rather go to Kauai, Kona and Maui for the privacy,” she says.
Tzaschel has also noticed a steady climb over the years in corporate jets carrying international as well as Mainland executives.
Pratt expects a big, new market for private flights to Oahu soon. Once a fueling station opens this year at the Kalaeloa air strip, private jets will be able to land much closer to the Aulani, the Disney resort opening in Ko Olina.
“Putting a fueling station at Kalaeloa will further strengthen business from corporate jets,” he says. “We will see more celebrities and business executives wanting to go to Ko Olina.”
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