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Adding emergency runway lights at Kapalua Airport could benefit west Maui community

Kapalua_Airport_Terminal_2009.jpg
Reigenbrode/Wikimedia Commons
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Kapalua Airport

The west Maui community is invited to attend a virtual town hall meeting to discuss the addition of emergency lights at the Kapalua Airport tomorrow.

The Kapalua Airport was built in the 1980s with a promise to only operate during daylight hours, at the request of nearby residents.

Joe Pluta, president of the West Maui Taxpayers Association, suggested to Councilmember Tamara Paltin to construct runway lights for emergency use.

Councilmember Paltin describes a time when she wished Kapalua Airport had emergency lights.

"[For] instance when [the] Pali was having a landslide, there was a young girl patient that needed to get to the hospital and time was an issue, like she couldn’t wait until morning," Paltin said.

"What ended up happening in that case was the Coast Guard came over by boat, came over and picked her up and docked her on the other side at Māʻalaea," Paltin told HPR.

Paltin says the lights will only be used for nighttime emergency evacuations, or supply cutoffs from landslides. Having the option of aerial transportation could benefit the west Maui community that is isolated from more populated areas.

The virtual town hall meeting to discuss emergency runway lights at the Kapalua Airport will take place Tuesday over Zoom and Facebook livestream at 5:30 p.m.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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