Obama Visit Impacts Hawaii Aviators

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The Oahu Aviation Initiative, an ad hoc coalition of 20 small general aviation businesses in Hawaii, is asking the federal government to compensate them for $200,000 in losses they incurred due to almost two weeks of flight restrictions during President Barack Obama's recent holiday visit to Oahu. The group is also working with the Secret Service and the TSA to negotiate less severe restrictions before the next presidential visit to their state. The restrictions essentially banned flights within a 30-mile radius of the rented house where the Obama family was staying outside Honolulu. Pat Magie, president of Island Seaplane Service, told the Honolulu Advertiser that aviation company owners were not informed of flight restrictions until four days before the president's arrival, and many of them had no option but to shut down entirely during the 12-day visit, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4.

More visits are expected from President Obama, including an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference planned for November 2011. "We know we've got to live with it somewhat and sacrifice some, but if it happens next year with the international summit, plus if Obama came back again for Christmas, we could be shut down for a month," Magie said.