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July 2007

From the Editor...

 

Rochelle delaCruz

from the editor…

Plane Business

As we’re in the middle of our summer travel season, things are popping. For us island people, transportation is a key issue. With friends and extended family scattered all over our islands, flying from one to another is an important part of life. I remember when I first arrived in Seattle to attend the University of Washington, how surprised I was to meet someone who confessed they had never been on an airplane. How can? I wondered, until I realized that here on the Mainland, people can get from place to place in a car, a bus or a train. But in Hawai`i since the end of World War II, we simply hopped on a plane.

Even after moving to the Pacific Northwest, we are constantly gazing at those tiny islands in the middle of the Pacific, saving our money and plotting our next trip home. So we’re always tracking air fares and schedules. And while I might prefer to fly on Hawai`i-based carriers, most of us have to pay attention to costs. When my children were young, what a project it was to get everyone to Hilo! But it was important to get those keiki back to the islands to spend time with the rest of the family, and so it seemed that we were constantly dealing with travel plans.

While I was working on the front page travel story, I was mulling over the reality that the perspective from urban Honolulu may be different from the rural outer islands. Since most of the main action is on O`ahu, perhaps those living there have less of a need to travel to other islands. But if you live on Kaua`i, Molokai, Lana`i, Maui or the Big Island, there are a million reasons to get on a plane. And to leave the state, almost everyone has to go to Honolulu just to begin their trip.

So my conclusion about the transportation industry in Hawai`i might be obvious but here it is: Of course it’s about business first. And yet if prices are so high that even average people have difficulty traveling, then everyone stays home and everybody suffers. But if the industry can keep at the forefront, those in the Islands who don’t have so much disposable income and help them find ways to travel, then business picks up all around. What’s more, staying in touch with friends and family is an important part of island culture, and the more ways the travel industry can help islanders come together, the better we can all continue a way of life we hold dear. ~RdC

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