(BIVN) – There has been a drastic reduction in the number of air tours flying over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, according to a newly completed Air Tour Management Plan.
After years of discussion and delay, the National Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration completed the ATMP on December 20, 2023.
ATMP is more than 20 years in the making. This will reduce the number of low-flying air tours over the park to protect natural and cultural resources, the nature of the wilderness and overall visitor experience, said Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Rhonda Loh. We greatly appreciate everyone’s input in this long process with us.
National Park air travel will continue under the ATMP, but at a reduced level of 1,548 air travel per year, compared to the more than 11,300 annual travel currently allowed. to protect natural and cultural resources, wilderness, the integrity of Native Hawaiian sacred sites and ceremonial sites, and visitor experiences.”
ATMP is also required not to fly on Sundays, and on some traditional Hawaiian holidays.
For the next 180 days, until such time as the Operation Specifications are amended, “operators will be permitted to continue conducting air tours within the Air Tour Management Plan boundary up to the limits of the Interim Operating Authority”, the National Park Service saying.
Specifically, the National Park Service says the plan:
- Up to 1,548 air journeys per year are allowed on three specific routes within the boundaries of the plans. This is a significant reduction from the current level of more than 11,300 flights per year.
- Air tours can take place between 10 am and 2 pm local time on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Qualifying air tours using silent technology can fly from 9 am to 5 pm on those days, as well as on Wednesdays.
- Designates three air tour routes that avoid Klauea’s summit and protect important cultural and natural resources, visitor-use areas, and wilderness parks. Air travel is limited on these routes.
- Days that do not fly are Sundays,
- No-fly days during six traditional Hawaiian holidays: End of Makahiki (usually in January), Zenith Noon (usually in May), Summer Solstice (June), Zenith Noon (usually in July), Start of Makahiki (usually in October) and Winter Solstice (December)
- No-fly days on two dates honoring and recognizing important Hawaii Island alii, people of traditional nobility: Ruth Keeliklani (February 9), and Bernice Pauahi Bishop (December 19)
According to the National Park Service:
The air travel management plan was developed with the cooperation of stakeholders representing a variety of interests, including Native Hawaiian organizations, other land management agencies, local communities, and community groups. entertainment. The plan addresses and addresses the concerns identified in these consultations and through public comment.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of the few national parks where the NPS and FAA have developed or are currently developing an air tour management plan or voluntary agreement to meet the requirements of the National Parks Air Tour Management Act. Each air tour management plan or agreement is made to manage commercial air tours in a manner consistent with the NPSs mission, the respective purposes of the parks, and the FAA’s authority regarding aviation safety.
The final air tour management plan is available on the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website here. Please visit the NPS Air Toursand FAAs Air Tour Management Plansite for more information about air tour management plans.
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