Big Island raises matching funds to save small airport

HILO (AP) — Air service at a small airport on the Big Island will continue this year after officials and community partners raised the amount required in matching funds.

The county council approved the remaining amount in matching funds last week for the Waimea-Kohala Airport, accepting contributions from residents and groups to support the funding from the county, West Hawaii Today reported .

The U.S. Department of Transportation had threatened to cancel a subsidy to Mokulele Airlines, citing federal rules that require 5 percent in matching funds from the community for the $400,000 contract.

The federal subsidy is intended to support small communities whose nearest airport is 40 miles away from the closest hub airport. The airport on the island’s north side is about 39 miles from the Kona International Airport.