Ceremony Held for Kona Airport Improvements
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.
Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui said the improvements reflect the state’s commitment to the airport’s operations and safety.
“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.
Also in the CIP budget is $5.9 million for a closed-circuit television system and other security upgrades for the airport.