HDH Lease Transition

The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, Airports Division (HDOTA) currently leases the Kawaihapai Airfield (HDH or Airfield) from the United States Army, and has been working with the Army for over a decade to resolve very difficult legal and practical problems.

Over the years, HDOTA has explored many options for keeping the airfield open, however none have proved viable yet. Dillingham Airfield is the only airport in the HDOTA system that is not owned by the State. The current short-term lease does not allow HDOTA to comply with federal grant requirements and contains conditions that expose HDOTA to the risk of losing federal funds. In addition, water system issues, uncertainty of the lease, and lack of authority over the facility all mean that HDOTA cannot  guarantee the long-term operation of the airfield. Furthermore, HDOTA subsidizes about a million dollars a year for the operation and maintenance at the airfield, costs that unfairly must be paid by users of other airports in the state.

As a result, HDOTA announced its intent to terminate the lease at HDH.  Originally, HDOTA intended to terminate the lease as of June 30, 2020.  Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, HDOTA extended the proposed termination date to June 30, 2021.  In connection with these announcements, HDOTA sent letters to the tenants regarding how the termination of their permits will impact them and providing instructions for returning the facility to its original condition. The letters also identified current vacancies at the other airports within HDOTA jurisdiction so tenants will have adequate time to apply for a new permit prior to the deadline to vacate HDH.

In response, the U.S. Army committed to work with HDOTA to try to resolve the current legal issues swiftly.   As a result, in April 2021, HDOTA agreed to extend the lease termination date to December 31, 2021. Since April, there has been some progress on securing a Joint Use Agreement and a new, long-term lease with the Army. To that end, on September 17, 2021, HDOTA agreed to rescind the termination of its lease with the Army. However, HDOTA reserves its continuing right to early termination of the Army lease if the Army does not make continued and timely progress on resolving the legal issues and issuing a new Joint Use Agreement and long-term lease.  If there is no measurable progress, HDOTA will need to continue to work toward the orderly closure of HDH.

HDOTA appreciates the support of the U.S. Army and the FAA whether the parties ultimately identify viable solutions or whether we ultimately work toward a smooth transition of the facility’s management.

Public documents and additional information on the lease transition are disclosed and available in below links:

Questions and Answers:  click here

FAA Closure Plan:  click here

FAA Closure Plan Exhibits:

Exhibits 1-7 Laws and Regulations

Exhibits 8-21 Planning-Regulatory Documents

Exhibits 22-29 Leases with the United States Army

Exhibit 30 HDH Current Tenant Leases pages 01-99

Exhibit 30 HDH Current Tenant Leases pages 100-199

Exhibits 31-60 Correspondence and Communications

Exhibit 61 Supporting Documentation Provided by DOTA

Public Notices:

February 6, 2020 – HDOTA to transfer Dillingham Airfield back to the U.S. Army

February 11, 2020 – HDOT, U.S. Army and FAA continue Dillingham Airfield transition to military management

April 15, 2020 – HDOT postpones action at Dillingham Airfield due to COVID-19

Dillingham Airfield Tenant Notices:

February 10, 2020

April 8, 2020

September 8, 2020

March 4, 2021

April 29, 2021

September 22, 2021

Public comments regarding Dillingham Airfield can be submitted to the Airports Division by emailing [email protected]