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Ceremony Held for Kona Airport Improvements

May 29, 2013, 4:47 PM HST
* Updated May 30, 12:50 PM
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A groundbreaking was held Wednesday for a new fire-fighting facility at Kona International Airport.

The 10 a.m. ceremony included dedication of the new $35 million air-traffic control tower which began operating in December.

Construction of the new 100-foot tower, which provides air-traffic controllers with increased visibility, began in 2009. It replaces a tower which was put into service in 1970.

Officials said the new 24,000-square-foot Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Facility, which is expected to be completed in spring 2014, will contain two truck bays, a trailer bay and a fueling area. It will also have improved work and living areas for firefighters as well as office space, dorm rooms and a workout area.

The Federal Aviation Administration provided $14.6 million of the facility’s $17 million cost.

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Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui said the improvements reflect the state’s commitment to the airport’s operations and safety.

In the shadow of the new air-traffic control tower, state and federal officials held a groundbreaking for a new fire-fighting facility at Kona International Airport. Courtesy photo.

In the shadow of the new air-traffic control tower, state and federal officials held a groundbreaking for a new fire-fighting facility at Kona International Airport. Courtesy photo.

State and federal officials held a groundbreaking today for a new fire-fighting facility at Kona International Airport. Courtesy photo.

State and federal officials held a groundbreaking today for a new fire-fighting facility at Kona International Airport. Courtesy photo.

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“Kona International Airport is the gateway for visitors and residents alike and the new fire-fighting station and FAA tower will enable us to continue to provide a safe environment,” Tsutsui said. “This is also an important investment to support our economic driver – tourism.”

Other projects in the works for Kona’s airport located at Keahole Point include expansion of the terminal. The state Legislature recently appropriated $70 million for that project’s construction.

The state’s capital improvement budget also includes $37.5 million for design and construction of an international arrivals building to meet customs and security requirements.

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Also in the CIP budget is $5.9 million for a closed-circuit television system and other security upgrades for the airport.

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