Aerial Banners North flies first paid banner as city steps up enforcement

Despite warnings and citations from the city, Aerial Banners North flew a banner Friday evening.

ABN says it’s been hired by a local client, so for the first time, it flew a paid banner — a marriage proposal which reads “Marry me Rachel.”

The development isn’t sitting well with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. He’s stepping up forces to try and stop the company for good and even asking the Congressional delegation to help.

Since Aerial Banners North flew on July 4, the Honolulu Police Department has cited the pilot while the prosecutor’s office cited the company three days ago.

None of it has changed the company’s plans to do business here.

“It’s exactly the wrong thing to do for a new company coming in to our community not to do it in a way that’s respectful and humble and asking can we come in, we want to follow the law. It’s more I don’t care,” Caldwell said.

Standing side by side with the prosecutor and chief of police, the mayor is putting up a united front. He’s also asking Hawaii’s congressional delegates to get the Federal Aviation Administration to revoke the company’s waiver.

The waiver does say it does not preempt county law but ABN says there’s a clause in it that does. So now the city is also considering filing a court order to get ABN to stop.

“(Violating the court’s order is) a really bad thing because now the judge is upset,” Caldwell said.

“You can snub your nose at the city and the mayor and prosecutor, but you can’t snub your nose at the courts,” said Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

Photo: Malia Shim
Photo: Malia Shim

ABN’s plane takes off from Kalaeloa Airport, but the banner is placed in an undisclosed location.

The mayor wants to know who owns the property and ask them not to allow ABN to do that.

ABN’s attorney Michael McAllister says everything the company is doing is legal. McAllister says the company has faced opposition in other cities but he’s surprised by how much they’ve faced here considering the amount of signs and advertisement that is allowed in Honolulu.

“Honolulu is not a sign free city there’s lots of advertisements on the sides of trucks there’s lots of political sings and other signage on the sides of buildings. What Aerial Banners is doing is no different than any other advertising that’s already permitted in Honolulu,” McAllister said.

The mayor is once again asking the public to call 911 when they see the plane because it will help police officers cite the pilot and the company.

Both have to appear in court on August 5 for the first violation in July.

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