The Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing on Senate Bill 451 on Friday, Feb. 8, at the State Capitol. The committee deferred action on the bill.
If eventually passed, the bill would put the owners of air carriers under the purview of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The measure would essentially have the PUC regulate airfares and make it more affordable for local consumers. Right now, air carriers are exempt from regulation of the PUC.
"Local residents have limited options when it comes to interisland travel," said Sen. Malama Solomon, who represents District 4 (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) and introduced the legislation. "Due to the fact that Hawai'i's residents have very few options, the state needs to assure that local families have affordable airfare rates for family visits and emergencies."