State Wins Ruling on Mandatory Landing Fees
Unpaid landing fees from two commercial users can be collected by the State of Hawai’i after Monday’s ruling by the Hawai’i Supreme Court.
Attorney General Doug Chin announced that the state Department of Transportation has the authority to collect the landing fees at all state and federal airports. The state can also immediately collect $264,994.99 from the two carriers who refused payment.
Dating back to 2012, both Pofolk Aviation Hawai’i, Inc. and Hale O’lele Corp. each refused the state’s authority to charge landing fees and did not pay invoices. The companies use Dillingham Airport on Oahu’s North Shore.
“The Supreme Court supported the rule of law and an agency’s authority to charge fees for a public purpose,” said Deputy Attorney General Jack Rosenzweig, the attorney handling the case for the State. “We are pleased with this decision.”
During the court case, $200,000 was held in trust, but Monday’s decision allows the state the right to collect the fee.
“The landing fees are used to offset the substantial deficit to operate the Dillingham Airfield, which is currently subsidized by the State,” said Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami. “It is imperative that airlines and concessionaires pay for license fees in order to keep the facility open. Collecting the money ensures fairness to all aeronautical users in Hawai’i.”
Pofolk Aviation Hawai’i, Inc., et al v. Dept. of Transp. For the State of Hawai’i, SCWC-13-3857 was filed on June 29.