Operators will be permitted to continue to conduct air tours within the Air Tour Management Plan boundary up to the limit of Interim Operating Authority and until their Operation Specifications are amended, which will occur no later than 180 days after the date the plan takes effect.
Specifically, the plan authorizes up to 1,548 air tours per year on three specific routes within the plan's boundary. This is a significant reduction from existing levels of more than 11,300 flights per year. The air tours can occur between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. local time on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Qualifying air tours using quiet technology may fly from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on those days, as well as on Wednesdays. It designates three air tour routes that avoid the summit of Kīlauea and protect key cultural and natural resources, visitor use areas, and park wilderness. Air tours will be limited to these routes.
The plan also identifies no-fly days to include:
- Six traditional Hawaiian holidays (End of Makahiki (typically in January), Zenith Noon (typically in May), Summer Solstice (June), Zenith Noon (typically in July), Start of Makahiki (typically in October), Winter Solstice (December)
- Two dates that honor and acknowledge important Hawai'i Island aliʻi, people of traditional nobility (Ruth Ke'elikōlani (February 9) and Bernice Pauahi Bishop (December 19)).
The air tour management plan was developed in cooperation with stakeholders representing a variety of interests, including Native Hawaiian organizations, other land management agencies, local communities, and recreation groups. The plan addresses and responds to concerns identified during these consultations and through public comment.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is one of several national parks for which the NPS and FAA have developed or are currently developing an air tour management plan or voluntary agreement to meet the requirements of the National Parks Air Tour Management Act. Each air tour management plan or agreement is developed to manage commercial air tours in a way that is consistent with the NPS's mission, the individual park's purposes, and the FAA's authority regarding aviation safety.
The final air tour management plan is available at:https://parkplanning.nps.gov/HawaiiVolcanoesFinalATMPandEA
or by clicking "Document List" on the left side of this page.
Please visit the NPS Air Tours and FAA's Air Tour Management Plan websites by clicking on "Links" on the left side of this page for more information about air tour management plans.
Environmental Protection Specialist
The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) completed an Air Tour Management Plan for Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park December 20, 2023. The plan provides for the continuation of air tours at reduced levels over the park and within a half-mile of its boundary to protect natural and cultural resources, wilderness, the integrity of Native Hawaiian sacred sites and ceremonial areas, and visitor experiences.