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Posted: Friday, July 12th, 2013 11:50 AM HST

Big Island Waimea flight contract goes to Mokulele

By Associated Press

HILO, Hawaii (AP) The federal Department of Transportation has awarded Mokulele Airlines a contract to provide air service to Waimea on the Big Island.

Mokulele beat competing bids from Makani Kai and Pacific Wings.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports Mokulele's bid offered 12 nonstop flights a week to either Kahului Airport or Honolulu International Airport.

The department selected the Kahului option, but says it will give the airline the flexibility to offer service to either destination.

The service is supported by the agency's Essential Air Service program that subsidizes service to rural areas.

The subsidy covers about 80 percent of the cost of the regularly scheduled flights.

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce endorsed Mokulele Airlines' proposal.

The transportation department says most of the public comments on the service favored flights to Honolulu.

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