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Two-week TFR President's Vacation Means GA Difficulties on Oahu

Josh Wege

December 22, 2009 — The ongoing difficulties with Temporary Flight Restrictions nationwide came into focus again this week, this time on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, as general aviation faced more hurdles during President Obama’s vacation in that state beginning Wednesday.

The Temporary Flight Restriction incorporates a 10-mile inner ring and 30-mile outer ring over much of Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island and home of the state capital, Honolulu.  The TFR in that area will be in effect until noon, local time, on Monday, Jan. 4.

The TFR comes during Hawaii’s prime holiday tourism season, which includes many businesses that operate sightseeing and other flights for visitors.  Air-tour operators, flight-school owners and others met with Transportation Security Administration and Secret Service officials earlier this week to air their concerns and potential economic hardships because of the two-week TFR. Those hardships range from additional pre-flight paperwork and inspections to the possible shutdown of an entire operation, which during the prime holiday tourist season could cost a business tens of thousands of dollars.

“No one questions the need to protect the President, but the size and scope of the TFRs have been a constant hardship on the aviation community for a number of years,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.

“Even citizens not directly involved in the aviation industry in Hawaii should be concerned about the effects a presidential vacation has on working people – especially from an administration that continues to tout that one of its top priorities is job creation and stability.”

EAA, AOPA and other groups continue to bring this issue to federal officials because of the direct impact TFRs have on aviation businesses.  For instance, the individual effect of the TFR on Hawaiian aviation businesses was personified by longtime EAA member Bruce Mayes, president of Vintage Aviation on Oahu. Mayes noted that the TFR imposed is larger, of a longer duration and more restrictive than any in the past on the island.

“This is the busy season for the Hawaii air tour business, but instead there could be hundreds of people laid off, from aviation workers to shuttle drivers to people who take the reservation calls,” he said.

EAA will continue to update this story as further details warrant.  Complete information on this and other TFRs are available through AeroPlanner service on the EAA website or at www.aeroplanner.com.

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