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Posted: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 12:20 PM HST

Officials seek international flights to Kona

By Associated Press

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) Big Island and state officials are seeking a five-year exemption from the federal government in meeting security standards at Kona International Airport.

The exemption would allow officials to reopen an international inspection facility that closed in 2010.

West Hawaii Today says the lack of a U.S. customs facility is hindering efforts to bring international flights to Kona.

U.S. Customs officials say the airport does not meet technical design standards for passenger processing facilities. A practice of having customs reimbursed by charter flights for flying agents from Honolulu to Kona to staff the customs gateway there came to an end in 2012.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi says he met last week with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and the topic was assigned to an assistant secretary.

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