People movers will be back in action again by the end of May

Two of the three sets of moving walkways in the Kahului Airport terminal will be fully operational again by the end of May, a state Department of Transportation official said.

It has been three or four years since the people movers in the terminal have been working, said Caroline Sluyter, state Department of Transportation public information officer.

The broken people movers have been the source of complaints from travelers and can be found in forums on travel sites such as TripAdvisor. The Maui News recently received an email from visitor Ed Wertheimer, who said he had just returned from his 12th trip to Maui in late March.

“I have been complaining about the moving ramps inside the building,” he said in an email, wondering when the repairs would be made. “They don’t work and have not for several years. This is in my mind a disgrace for Maui.”

Problems with a maintenance company that eventually ended up in court was the reason for the delay, Sluyter said. That problem has been resolved and a new maintenance contract has been inked with a different company.

Because the system is so old, parts had to be found in the Midwest somewhere, said Marvin Moniz, Maui District airports manager. Spare parts also have been acquired, he added.

The two people movers farthest away from the agricultural checkpoint in the Spreckelsville wing of the terminal will be repaired, he said. As of Tuesday, one set of movers – one section going in each direction – was operational and one way of another set was working.

Repairing a third moving walkway, nearest the agricultural checkpoint, has been more problematic because it is built on an incline. Parts have been ordered; no exact date has been set on the repairs, according to Moniz and Sluyter.

A fourth people mover has been removed, said Moniz. The moving walkway was built over an expansion joint connecting two buildings. Due to settling of the buildings or recent earthquakes, there is an offset in the foundation, which caused a dip in the track of the moving walkway, he said.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as we work to get the moving sidewalks operational again,” Sluyter said in an email last week.