Saturday, July 05, 2014

Aerial Banners North: Aerial advertisement company keeps flying, despite protests

 Despite being issued a cease-and-desist letter, along with involvement from the mayor, the company Aerial Banners North (ABN) took to the skies on Friday.

KHON2 News was the first to tell you about the company flying banners over Oahu after a viewer brought it to our attention through the Report It feature on our website.

Aerial ads are illegal under state and county laws, but the company received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Still, the Outdoor Circle issued a cease and desist letter, and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he wants the advertising to stop.

But Aerial Banners North says the mayor is just playing politics. In their view, the city has no jurisdiction, so the company will keep flying.

With Kailua Beach park packed with people for the Friday 4th of July holiday, the Aerial Banners North plane made a few passes, towing the American flag and a sign that read ABN Loves America, although the A looked more like an H.

Nonetheless, the deed was done and Mayor Caldwell says the company should be prosecuted.

“Should a police officer see the advertising,” the mayor said, “he will cite the pilot and the owner, then we’ll prosecute to the full extent of the law. It’s a criminal offense here, we take it seriously, and we’re going to enforce our ordinance.”

The mayor has also sent a letter to the FAA, asking to revoke the company’s waiver.

A spokesman for ABN said “the Mayor’s letter to the FAA is simply politics … and the issue could not be any clearer. ABN is properly authorized to fly banners lawfully in Hawaii.”

In the past, the mayor has asked the City Council to change the law to allow ads on city buses in order to raise money, but he says the aerial advertising is just plain wrong.

“We don’t like it when someone from outside of our state comes in and tries to tell us that they’re going to ignore these laws or that they’re going to follow some other law somewhere else.”

Today’s beach goers had mixed reactions.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said Kailua resident Mike Dudley. “I see that on the mainland, towing a banner that says some advertisement.”

“It’s temporary. They’re just flying it across and that’s nothing wrong with that,” Norine Baker of Wahiawa said. “I think it’s smart business, smart marketing.”

Some folks we spoke with said it’s alright to see the banners once in a while but they’re afraid more companies will come here and they’ll see it all the time.

“I don’t think we should have it because, if that starts, then who knows what else starts, like other kinds of flying billboards, and you got planes just flying all around,” said Kailua resident Kekumu Cambra.

“It’s going to take away from people coming here and enjoying what Hawaii is all about,” said Patty Palaualelo of Kaneohe.

Aerial Banners North does plan to fly on Saturday.

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