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Wailua Airport

Governor’s Executive Order No. 259 dated October 15, 1926, set aside a 116.25 acre military reservation in Wailua, Puna, Kauai, as a site for an aeroplane landing field for the U.S. Air Service to be under the control and management of the War Department.

On August 17, 1927 Presidential Executive Order No. 4684 restored to its previous status the use of the Territory of Hawaii Tract 1 at Wailua, Puna, Kauai, containing an area of 113 acres, more or less.

The Territorial Aeronautical Commission reported in its FY 1928 Annual Report that it greatly desired to establish the main Kauai Airport in the Lihue District and several locations were under consideration.  The Commission controlled a 113 acre field at Wailua adjoining the Lihue District but owing to the dangers of approach, the great expense of improvements, and the distance from Lihue, it was not thought desirable to attempt development.  This field was placed under control of the Commission per Governor’s Executive Order No. 302 dated November 22, 1927.

Act 122, SLH 1931, appropriated $35,000 for an airstrip at Wailua, Kauai.  Plans and specifications were prepared and a contract awarded to the Kauai Construction Company, Ltd. in August 1931, for the sum of $34,813.90 for making improvements to the Wailua Airport.  The work called for grading a runway approximately 2,200 feet long, relocating the Ahukini Railway tracks and the relocating a drainage ditch.  The work was completed.

Governor’s Executive Order No. 511 dated December 23, 1931 cancelled EO No. 302 and EO No. 512 cancelled EO No. 137 so that the Wailua Airport could be realigned.  Governor’s Executive Order No. 523 dated January 27, 1932 set aside 106.70 and .41 acres of land for Wailua Airport. Governor’s Executive Order No. 558 dated March 23, 1933 withdrew land from EO NO. 259.

In 1933 plans and specifications were prepared and a contract awarded to the Kauai Construction Company, Ltd., for the sum of $5,800 for grading and planting grass on the Wailua Airport. Inter-Island Airways operated from the field and maintained a station house there.  The principal needs at the airport were the removal of trees, grading and paving of suitable runways.

Governor’s Executive Order No. 707 dated March 17, 1936 added 0.42 acres to the Airport at Wailua to be known as Lihue Airport and to be under the control and management of the Superintendent of Public Works.

In a report to the Governor on January 7, 1937, Robert L. Campbell, District Advisor, Airport Section, Bureau of Air Commerce, wrote:

“The use of Wailua Airport on Kauai should be discontinued because the physical characteristics of the land and its location make expansion of the usable area impractical.  The hazard attendant to the operation of modern transport equipment within restricted areas prohibits the use of Federal Funds for the permanent improvement of airports that cannot be enlarged sufficiently to meet minimum Bureau of Air Commerce requirements as to size and usable area.  Any moneys being expended for maintenance on these fields should only be continued so long as it is necessary for uninterrupted service, and when other facilities are available funds should be used on airports being developed that will meet these minimum requirements.”

E. L. Yuravich, Chief Inspector, Bureau of Air Commerce, Washington, D.C. expressed the opinion in January 1938 that the Wailua Airport was entirely inadequate and dangerous for planes and therefore ordered its abandonment.

Inter-Island Airways moved its operations back to Port Allen. 

Governor’s Executive Order No. 799 dated June 6, 1938 cancelled EO No. 707 as Wailua Airport had been abandoned and no longer needed for aeroplane landing purposes.  EO No. 802 turned over 106.12 acres of the abandoned Wailua Airport/Lihue Airport to the County of Kauai for use as a fair ground.

 


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