Governor open to ‘best way’ for Dillingham Air Field operations

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Gov. David Ige tells KHON2 the future of Dillingham Air Field is still being determined, this after Always Investigating first revealed that the state wanted out as of June 30th, and the Department of Transportation gave notice to tenants they would be evicted then.

Ige cited short lease cycles from the Army, which owns the land, as being too short to make any major fixes and investments there. The state used to have decades-long leases, but the Army moved to 5-year cycles in recent years.

Always Investigating asked the governor, who has been traveling and did not directly respond prior to today, if he was open to considering what aviation advocates have been asking for: either keeping the airfield open, or delaying its closure date until another entity could take over. The governor said the DOT and Army are in ongoing talks.

“They are definitely engaged to determine what the future of the airfield will be,” Ige said.

KHON2 asked Ige: What do you want to see happen?

“I can tell you that the current situation is unsustainable, the leases that the Army has been willing to issue is too short to make any kind of improvements in the air field,” Ige said. “Certainly we’ll be working directly with the Army to figure out what’s the best way to manage Dillingham Air Field and see what uses are appropriate and how they should be managed.”

KHON2 asked Ige: If a long-term lease were offered would you take it and keep it?

“I do think there are lots of different components that need to be part of a long-term sustainable plan for Dillingham, and the DOT and the U.S. Army are fully aware of the concerns by those who are currently using the airfield,” Ige said. “Certainly we are working to find a way, what’s the best way to provide opportunity for the businesses at Dillingham Air Field, at the same time figure out some sustainable way to fund those improvements and manage the airport better than it is today.”

The Army previously told Always Investigating that they had been working on a longer lease for the state for the past year.

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