Hawaiian Airlines 'Very Close' to Returning to West Maui
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Flyers hoping for an easier way to get to the resorts of West Maui may be able to fly there as soon as February 2017. In comments to The Maui News, managers and executives for Hawaiian Airlines claimed they were "very close" to launching service to the nearest airport, Kapalua West Maui Airport.
Commercial service to the regional airport was discontinued in 2013 when Island Air stopped flying to West Maui. After efforts to attract another airline to the small airport failed, screening equipment used by the TSA was taken apart and sent to another location.
Under federal law, commercial flights with aircraft carrying more than 19 passengers require TSA screening, including approved equipment. Because Hawaiian plans on operating the 48-seat ATR-42 turboprop aircraft between West Maui and Honolulu, the TSA must be in place before the flights can resume.
Currently, TSA staff are being trained to take over operations once equipment is installed at the West Maui airport. Current estimates suggest security teams could be ready to start by February 20 — later than the carrier's original target launch date of January 18. However, some executives at the company believe regular flights won't begin until March.
The West Maui airport will be an important addition for Hawaiian Airlines, due to the number of resorts nearby. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas and the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa are all within two miles of the airport. Each of the resorts can be booked with Marriott Rewards points or Starwood Preferred Guest points. If you're short on either of these loyalty currencies, remember you can earn them with the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express — and you can now transfer points between the two programs.
When service resumes, Hawaiian plans on operating six flights daily from West Maui, including service from Honolulu and Maui – Kahului Airport. The carrier has not announced when tickets will go back on sale. The airline will also christen new service between Kauai Lihue Airport and Kona International Airport in March.