New Rules Limit Commercial Air Tours Over Hawaii National Parks
New regulations limiting commercial air tours over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been introduced through the National Park Overflight Advisory Group (NPOAG). The NPOAG is tasked with providing ongoing advice on commercial air tour operations over national parks, offering insights and recommendations. The recent implementation of the Air Tour Management Plan has raised concerns about its impact on aerial access to the parks. Quentin Koch, owner of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, joined Living808 to share his thoughts.
Critics argue that the ruling not only affects Americans but also international visitors, limiting their ability to experience the wonders of Volcano National Park and Haleakala from the sky. Additionally, the plan is seen as restricting access for individuals with physical limitations, potentially leading to increased ground traffic within the parks.
Quentin shared that Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, advocates for a voluntary plan. They emphasize the minimal environmental impact of their Airbus EC-130 Quiet Technology during flyovers. Blue Hawaiian urges the National Parks and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prioritize safety for residents. They express concerns about the potential shift of air tour routes over residential areas rather than isolated parts of the park.
The debate underscores the importance of addressing environmental and safety concerns while maintaining opportunities for people, both local and international, to appreciate the unique landscapes of Hawaii from the air.