Flights to Midway Atoll could be cut due to rising operational costs

By Cam Tran
Published On: Aug 02 2012 11:13:52 PM HST
Updated On: Aug 03 2012 07:33:09 AM HST

An F/A-18 Marine fighter jet made a precautionary landing on Midway Atoll Thursday because of mechanical problems.

MIDWAY ATOLL, Hawaii -

Getting to Midway Atoll could be more difficult in the future because of a rise in fuel costs and a budget shortfall.

The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge operates Henderson Airfield on Midway. Due to a $1.2 million dollar shortfall, the airport could be forced to reduce flights to the island and cut private and charter tours around the refuge.

"Those would be visitor services programs which allow people to come on charter and private aircraft and allow people to go on natural history and private tours," said Barry Stieglitz from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  
Stieglitz says the airport relies on congressional appropriations and so far that amount hasn't been enough to cover rising operational costs.

"Seven years ago we were paying a $1 a gallon for aviation fuel, and now we're paying $4  a gallon," said Stieglitz.

If the congressional funding doesn't come through by next year, the airport may have to start cutting down to bare bones operations, which include only emergency landings and medical evacuations.

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