Lahaina, HI

Helicopter Tours Resume in Maui Post-Disaster Relief

Tracy Stengel
Photo byBlue Hawaiian Helicopters

After weeks of paused tourism operations, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters announced today they are resuming flight tours of Maui. The down time was used to focus on disaster relief efforts in Lahaina.

“Our top priority was helping those impacted by the fires,” said Quentin Koch, Blue Hawaiian President in a press release.

Koch received emergency authorization right away to land his helicopters in Lahaina and delivered basic supplies to thousands of hotel guests, locals, and first responders.

“As Hawaii’s only FFA SMS-certified tourism company, our highly trained pilots quickly transitioned from tour guides to heroes almost overnight,” Koch said.

On August 8, 2023, a wildfire tore through Lahaina and devastated the western side of Maui, reducing it to rubble and ashes. Over 100 people perished.

“Our safety policies and training allowed us to arrive on scene at sunrise the morning following the fires, said Eric Hamp, Blue Hawaiian Director of Operations. “And we continued to provide our full support until the adequate resources were received by our residents and hotel partners.”

Blue Hawaiian transported over 4,000 meals, pallets of water, clothing, and necessary fire equipment that was needed for emergency crews. Blue Hawaiian also provided free charter flights for tourists and residents to vacate Lahaina when the road was closed for up to five days.

“We are still grieving the many lives lost and the devastation caused by the wildfires as we pick up the pieces of our broken hearts,” said Koch. “But as we work to rebuild Lahaina, we need to remember to support the rest of the island as well. Most of Maui is now open for business, and it’s important to support them too as they depend greatly on tourism.”

Many historic landmarks, schools and businesses and homes were demolished in the wildfires. In spite of the huge damage to Lahaina, the rest of the island has been deemed safe and business owners are eager to welcome back tourists to show off their breathtaking island.

In 1820, before Hawaii was a state, King Kamehameha II designated Lahaina the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Maui, nicknamed ‘Valley Isle,’ is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. There are 120 miles of coastline and dozens of beaches — some are black volcanic beaches.

There are two volcanoes on Maui. Haleakala is one of the largest dormant volcanoes in the world. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, it was 12,000 feet tall. Due to erosion, the volcano is now about 10,023 feet. The island is also home to many pineapple farms.

Maui has many microclimates. There are lush rainforests, alpine deserts, and mountain ranges. The locals often joke that if someone doesn’t like the weather, they only need to drive 5 minutes.

Between December and April, approximately 10,000 humpback whales migrate to Maui to get away from the icy waters of Alaska. They give birth in the warm waters around Maui.

Have you ever visited Maui? What was your favorite experience there? Are you planning a trip to Maui soon? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI

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