Three of five Kahului Airport baggage carousels on the fritz

The Maui News

All of the baggage carousels at Kahului Airport should be back up and running soon after a series of issues halted three of the five carousels, an airport official said Thursday.

One carousel has been waiting for new parts for three weeks, while a second experienced an electrical short a few days ago and a third had to be taken down for troubleshooting, said Maui Airports District Manager Marvin Moniz.

“We’ve never had three (out of service) before,” Moniz said. But the airport is “not at a crisis level by far because we’re at a slower time of the year than we would be at midsummer or Christmas.”

Parts for one carousel are being shipped from the East Coast, and Moniz estimated that it would probably take another week to get them. The carousel that suffered a short is expected to be fixed by the end of the week. The third carousel is getting a maintenance check “to make sure the short doesn’t happen like the other one” and should be back online today, Moniz said.

The baggage carousels get plenty of use, running from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Because there are more airlines than carousels, carriers work out time slots amongst themselves to use the baggage claim area, Moniz said. In recent days, the airlines have been splitting time between the few working carousels.

Hawaiian Airlines “did experience a couple of misconnected bags (Wednesday),” said Ann Botticelli, senior vice president for corporate communications and public affairs. But she added that no trouble was reported Thursday, and no flights had been delayed.

The state Department of Transportation is discussing supplying Kahului Airport with newer carousels in the future, Moniz said.

“The belts are a little bit old,” he said. “There is a plan to start upgrading carousel systems and actually replacing them with newer models. The Engineering Division in Honolulu is working on that.”