Expanding on the guest post I wrote for West Hawaii Today, this is the follow up article by Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa on the topic of reducing the number of flights to and from Maui. The article is posted on the Maui Economic Development website and can be found in the Articles section.

The city of Maui has issued a proposed ordinance that would reduce the number of daily flights that would fly into the Hawaiian island, in an effort to preserve the natural beauty found in the state parkland. The measure, which has been submitted to the state’s Department of Transportation, would also impose a maximum of three daily flights per airline.

On Wednesday, May 16, Mayor Alan Arakawa sent a letter to the chief executives of United and Hawaiian Airlines urging them to slow down their growth plans for Maui. Arakawa wrote that the island’s limited road and air network is already at capacity and that if the airlines don’t reduce their flight numbers the service will end up being even further impacted.

Summer has just begun and the number of tourists arriving on Maui has already reached pre-pandemic levels. The stream of impatient vacationers arriving on the island threatens to overwhelm it.

With residents already frustrated and demanding relief from the glut of tourists, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is calling on airlines to limit the number of passengers and bring fewer people to the island.


Current trend

According to a county press release, Victorino recently met with airline executives to inquire about their willingness to voluntarily reduce air traffic to Kahului Airport, which is currently operating at full capacity. The mayor also met with state airport officials to find ways to address overcrowding and congestion at Kahului Airport, WBRC reports.

Hawaii News Now reports that about 7,500 of Hawaii’s 34,000 daily arrivals land at Maui airports – just below the 2019 record of about 7,700, with 91 percent of those travelers coming from the U.S. mainland.

Maui County residents have not had enough time to prepare for the sudden large influx of tourists, although health restrictions remain in place, said City Hall spokesman Brian Perry. Many of our hospital’s affiliates are still struggling to staff enough to provide good customer service.

Perry also pointed out the overzealousness and inattention of many tourists in the post-holiday crowds. When Maui welcomes visitors, he said, we ask them to temper their enthusiasm for our island with respect, courtesy and aloha.

Maui City Council Member Kelly King expressed her support for the Mayor’s efforts. There are so many people on the road, so many cars, that people are parking along the road on the Hana Highway and blocking access that could have been an emergency, she said. Just going to the parks on the beach is an important event for residents. This really affects the quality of life of our residents.

City Hall staff has contacted local hotel operators and car rental companies to educate their guests on caution and respect for people and places on Maui.

This is a complex problem that requires many solutions. Solving this problem requires a new way of thinking and a willingness to try out new ideas. This is far more important than passing new laws or hiring more police, Victorino said. Maui County needs the cooperation of the business community, our community leaders and the visitors themselves. We need to change the mindset and lack of civility that causes these situations in the first place.

According to a spokesman for the mayor, Victorino will say more about his plans to curb the influx of tourists at a press conference on Tuesday.The mayor of Maui has asked Hawaiian Airlines to cut passenger capacity to the island in response to the continuing drought. According to the Maui News, Mayor Alan Arakawa has written to airline executives calling for them to reduce the number of daily flights to the island from as many as 46 to as few as 20.. Read more about kaanapali beach news and let us know what you think.

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