Lihue Airport

Lihue Airport is located 1.5 miles east of Lihue town on the east coast of the island of Kauai.

In 1944 the Civil Aeronautics Administration deemed the old Port Allen Airport too small to accommodate even two-engine planes, and due to its location on a small peninsula bounded on three sides by the ocean, it could never be enlarged.  The CAA was unwilling to spend any money on restoring Port Allen after the war, but was willing to receive an application for a major new airport at another site.

The Territorial Department of Public Works determined that Barking Sands Field was too far from the center of the population (34 miles from Lihue) and that mixing military and civilian flying had not proven successful at any point.

Three sites were considered for the proposed Class IV airport, which was required to have two runways, graded 5,200 feet long and 500 feet wide, and paved 5,000 feet long and 200 feet wide, with all necessary fencing, lighting, drainage and other useful ground development, as well as a small temporary office building.

The sites considered were:

  • Lihue, between the town and the ocean and north of Nawiliwili;
  • Koloa at Mokahuena Point, one mile east of Koloa landing; and
  • Port Allen, one-half mile inland from the current Port Allen Airport.

Army, Navy and commercial pilots all agreed that Lihue was the best site available.  Wind and weather conditions were good, ground was fairly level; material was easy to handle; and the site was close to the business center of the island.  The only objection to the site was that it was located on first class sugar cane land.  The site was estimated to cost $112,500 for a minimum of 250 acres at $450 per acre.

The 1944 estimate by the Post War Planning Division of the Territorial Department of Public Works for building the airport was purchase of the land at $112,500; construction of ground facilities, $800,000; and a small building, $10,000.  Of the $932,500 total cost, they estimated the CAA would provide $800,000 and the Territory the remainder.

Master Plan drawing of Lihue AirportIn 1946 the Territorial Department of Public Works proposed building a Class III Airport at Lihue.  The proposed airport would serve the entire Island of Kauai which had a population estimated at 33,878 as of July 1, 1946.  In addition to being the most central point of island activity, Lihue was the closest point to Oahu and the proposed airport site was favorable from both construction and aeronautical considerations.

Port Allen Airport, which was not suitable for large airport operation, was served by non-scheduled operators who average approximately 196 round trips per month from Honolulu. Port Allen was planned and developed as the principal Kauai airport before the years of the development of the DC-3 or comparable planes.  Although satisfactory for lighter planes, Port Allen Airport could not be improved sufficiently to accommodate unrestricted large aircraft operation.

Barking Sands Airport (USAAF), which the Army made available for commercial flights though World War II, was the temporary Kauai terminal of Hawaiian Airlines Ltd. which had 158 scheduled flights per month (79 round trips from Honolulu).  Non-scheduled operators averaged approximately 18 round trips from Honolulu per month.  Barking Sands was to be retained by the Army and there appeared to be no reasonable possibility of obtaining from the Army adequate civil operating privileges in the field.  The airport was too remote from the center of Kauai activities to best serve the Island’s airport needs.  For most Kauai residents the trip to the airport required as much time as the air trip to Honolulu.  “Such a condition was a psychological deterrent to the development of inter-island flying to its ultimate place in the territory,” the Superintendent of Public Works opined.

The only planes based on Kauai were five small plans operated by a flying school and two owned by private owners.

“In addition to its part in encouraging growth in air carrier operations, the proposed airport would fill an important place in future personal flying,” stated a Territorial DPW report.  “The site is within 30 minutes drive for more than half to the population of Kauai and it is believed that within a few years personal flying on Kauai will be a considerable activity.

“The airport would have potential value during a national emergency. This is shown by the fact that at the peak of the carrier plane training program during the war, the construction of Naval Air Station, Kauai was actively proposed for the Lihue airport.  During the studies of alternate sites the war took a favorable turn rendering the proposed construction unnecessary.”

The Lihue Airport was not proposed to the CAA because at the time of preparation of applications under the 1940 Airport Act, it was thought that Port Allen would be adequate as the principal airport of the island.  The CAA’s recognition of the justification for an adequate principal airport for Kauai was shown by the allocation of $225,000 which was made in July 1941.  As of 1947, the money had not been spent.

By Act 153 Session Laws 1945, the Legislature appropriated $115,000 for the Lihue project. The Superintendent of Public Works for the Territory recommended that the Territorial Administration request the 1947 Legislature appropriate a sufficient additional sum to make possible the early realization of the project with the assistance of CAA funds.

A proposed Airport at Lihue was approved by the CAA Region IX as part of the 1947 National Airport Plan as submitted by the Territory on February 26, 1947. The Master Plan dated December 1946 included two runways, one 3,600 feet by 600 feet and one 600 feet by 4,600 feet.

Funds in the amount of $115,000 were provided by Act 153, Session Laws of Hawaii 1945, for the acquisition of lands and by Act 23, Session Laws of Hawaii 1947,  $270,000 was provided for construction.  The CAA matched the construction funds and 25 percent of the land acquisition costs.

A resolution adopting and approving the execution of the Sponsor’s Assurance Agreement for Lihue Airport was passed on August 2, 1948.  A contract for grading and paving a 3,750-foot runway was let in 1948 for $359,627.  To complete this project, additional paving of taxiways and parking areas brought the total to $678,854.  Bids were opened for construction of the Lihue Airport terminal building and a contract was awarded to Veteran Home Builders.

Ground breaking ceremonies were held October 28, 1948 and actual construction began November 4, 1948. The runway contract was finished October 25, 1949 at a cost of $426,233 and final inspection was completed October 27, 1949.  The airport was opened to non-scheduled air carrier and air freight operators from this date, pending completion of radio and terminal facilities necessary for the operation of scheduled air carriers.

On March 7, 1949 the HAC received a letter from Hawaiian Airlines outlining the absolute need for a second runway at Lihue, in view of CAA and CAB restrictions for scheduled airline operations. The Commission passed a recommendation to ask the Legislature for an increase in the appropriation for Lihue to add the second runway.  In July 1949, the CAA notified the Commission that it was inadvisable to build an alternate runway until further wind directional data had been obtained in order to determine whether or not the one existing runway was sufficient to handle the traffic. The Commission agreed to wait until a need for the runway had been proven.

Act 368, SLH 1949, appropriated $401,225 for buildings, runway, taxiways and improvements. The HAC decided to start work on a permanent terminal building at Lihue, rather than a temporary one.

On September 1, 1949, the airport was inspected and accepted by the CAA and the HAC.  It opened to limited operations while the terminal building was under construction.  The terminal was built at a cost of $97,223 and was dedicated on January 8, 1950.  Water had to be brought to the airport from Lihue and a contract for a water main was let in October 1949.  The water system for the airport represented an expenditure of $55,564.

Official opening day ceremonies were planned for January 8, 1950.  These plans included inaugural flights by Hawaiian Airlines, Trans-Pacific Airlines, Trans-Air Hawaii and several non-scheduled operators; to be followed by an air show put on jointly by the Hawaii Air National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol.

Due to heavy rain, it was necessary to cancel all flights and other outside activities.  Brief opening ceremonies were held inside the terminal building, followed by a luncheon at the Kauai Inn.  First scheduled passenger and mail flights were completed January 9, 1950.  Lihue Airport was the first modern terminal building in the islands.

Negotiations were begun immediately for the installation of an airport rotating beacon on the airport proper, a flashing red obstruction light on Carter’s Point Mountain, and a similar obstruction light on the Kalepa ridge.  These projects were completed and the airport was ready for scheduled night flights by April 1, 1950, a temporary runway lighting system having already been installed prior to opening day.  The first scheduled night flights were conducted by Hawaiian Airlines on April 9, 1950.

Terminal facilities included the airline ticket offices, taxi and U-drive desks, companies offering tour services; and free space was provided for a blind vendor’s stand. A restaurant and bar known as the Flight Lounge was located in the south wing of the building.  The large north wing space was provided for the Civil Aeronautics Administration offices, communication operations room, maintenance room and the United States Weather Bureau.  The U.S. Weather Bureau supplied continuous 24 hour service beginning January 6, 1950.  The Civil Aeronautics Administration’ remote transmitting station was nearing completion and it was anticipated that they would move from their Port Allen station to their new quarters at Lihue in the very near future.  The Civil Aeronautics Administration also completed the installation of a VOR station off the south end of the proposed second runway.

Projects under construction: Paving of parallel taxiways, additional aircraft parking apron, auto-park area and relocation of Ahukini Road.  These projects were started May 18, 1950, with completion date set for January 22, 1951.

Projects already in the planning stage included permanent runway lights, an air freight terminal building, extension of the present passenger terminal, extension of the present runway and landscaping.

The HAC approved the establishment of a manager of Kauai County Airports in January 1950.

Upon completion of a rotating beacon and obstruction lights on Kalepa and Carter’s Point, night schedules were started on April 4, 1950.

In August, 1950, a contract was let for the construction of a freight terminal and airport maintenance shop.  Temporary runway lights were replaced by medium intensity runway lights and a fully automatic emergency generating system in September, 1951.  Prior to introduction of Convair 340 airplanes by Hawaiian Airlines, it was necessary to lengthen the runway and taxiways from 3,750 feet to 5,100 feet.  The runway extension was completed in October 1952 at a cost of $178,697.

Highlights of 1950:

  • A contract was awarded for installation of a water system.  Cost: $27,330.
  • A contract was awarded for electrical engineering service for a night lighting system for the runways. Cost: $3,000.
  • Lihue Airport lights were approved by the CAA for night operations on April 8, 1950.  Obstacle lights and rotating beacon were installed a few days earlier to permit night operations.
  • On July 24, 1950 the HAC authorized an extension of the Lihue runway a minimum distance of 750 feet, and as much length as possible be added to the northeast end, the balance to the added to the southwest end.
  • The HAC agreed to a land exchange with Lihue Plantation Company on August 28, 1950 for the extension of the Lihue runway.  The HAC would exchange approximately 22.5 acres of Lihue Airport for approximately 18 acres of Lihue Plantation land. The CAA approved the exchange.
  • Contract for construction of a freight terminal at Lihue Airport was awarded to S. Honjiyo, low bidder, with a bid of $20,075.
  • A contract for installation of runway lights awarded to Ken’s Electric Company for $46,672 on September 25, 1950.
  • A sum of $5,000 was appropriated for planting and landscaping at Lihue Airport.
  • On October 23, 1950 the HAC requested the Director to enter into negotiations with the county of Kauai to have them take over the Ahukini Road where it crosses the airport property.
  • The Kauai Police Department requested that the HAC pay for police protection at Lihue Airport on November 27, 1950.  The request was referred to the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Additional paving work was completed on December 28, 1950.  Cost: $264,073.

Immediately on the opening of Lihue Airport in January, 1950, passenger traffic started a rate of increase beyond all expectations and the continued rise in 1951 taxed the facilities of the terminal building. Plans for enlargement of the building to provide for traffic, CAA and Weather Bureau needs were drawn and a contract was let in July 1952.  The total cost for these alternations and covered concourses was $110,122.

The location of baggage claiming facilities was designed for maximum convenience to the airlines in expediting their turn-around time, but proved unsatisfactory to the public by requiring them to carry their luggage through a crowded lobby to the street.  Plans were drawn by the Public Works Department to construct separate baggage claiming enclosures on the street side of the terminal for each airline.  These facilities were connected by a canopy over the entire loading zone in front of the building, offering protection in bad weather to both incoming and outgoing passengers.

Lihue Airport completed its first year of operation on January 8, 1951. The airport had the only modern terminal building in the Territory and its beautiful landscaping made Lihue Airport one of the finest of the system. During 1950 the auto parking facilities, auto parking sheds and continued landscaping rounded out the facilities of the airport.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration moved from Port Allen into the terminal building in January 1951. Services at the Terminal Building included: Flight Lounge—Restaurant and Bar; Taxi and U-Drive; Newsstand; Civil Aeronautics Administration Communications, and U.S. Weather Bureau.

Highlights of 1951:

  • A Jeep crash fire truck was put into operation at Lihue Airport in January 1951.
  • The Lihue air freight terminal was completed on February 8, 1951. Cost: $23,662.  Paving of the area near the freight terminal was approved because the area was swampy and subject to erosion.
  • Twenty covered auto parking stalls were completed and rented for $4 per month effective March 1, 1951.
  • Lihue Plantation was given a 15 year lease on March 19, 1951 for 30 acres of airport land with a withdrawal clause permitting the HAC to take back the land if needed for aeronautical purposes.  The 30 acres included Parcels A, B. C, D and E and 3.33 acres (Parcel G).
  • A contract for $145,960 was awarded to E. F. Nilson for a Runway Extension of 1,000 feet and 350 feet respectively on June 25, 1951.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 1451 dated June 20, 1951 set aside 152.261 acres of land for Lihue Airport to be under the control and management of the HAC.
  • Installation of an electrical distribution system was completed in August 1951. Cost: $48,754.

By June 1952 the Lihue air terminal was ready for the new Convair 340s.  These planes were expected to be in regular interisland flight by late 1953 or early 1954.

Construction continued in the early 1950s:

  • Approval was given on April 28, 1952 to award a contract for the construction of T-hangars to Kauai Development Company for $13,971.
  • Lihue’s runway was extended to a total length of 5,100 feet (1,000 feet at one end and 350 feet at the other).  In addition, medium intensity landing lights were installed on the extended portions of the runway.  Both projects were completed on May 9, 1952 at a cost of $185,000.
  • A contract was awarded on June 23, 1952 for alterations to the Terminal Building to Tharp-Fitzsimmons for $74,500.
  • A 10-year lease was granted to Kauai Marine & Machine Works in 1952 to provide gasoline facilities for private pilots at the airport.
  • The terminal was enlarged to handle increased passenger traffic in October 1952. Contract price for this work is $82,500.
  • Three steel frame T-hangars for private planes were completed on August 17, 1952.  Cost: $15,767.
  • Extensive alterations to the terminal building were completed in February 1953 to ease passenger traffic congestion.  Cost:  $110,122
  • Medium intensity runway lighting was installed in 1953 at a cost of $68,059.
  • A project to alter the entrance roadway to the airport was completed on March 11, 1955. Cost: $7,500.
  • Alterations and additions to the terminal building including a new covered walkway, baggage counter and drainage were completed on June 21, 1955. Cost: $40,000.
  • Resurfacing of the runway and other paved surfaces was completed on September 30, 1955. Cost: $5,187.
  • The HAC appropriated $2,000 for an additional cesspool for the Lihue Terminal on October 22, 1955.

By 1955, the land area at Lihue Airport encompassed 160 acres, including one paved runway, 3-21, which was 100-feet wide and 5,100-feet long.  The airport was served by Hawaiian Airlines, Ltd. and Trans-Pacific Airlines, Ltd. on a scheduled basis, as well as a number of non-scheduled operators. The airport included a terminal building, restaurant, ground transportation, parking lot, paved runway and warm-up apron, medium intensity lights, lighted wind cones, rotating beacon and obstruction lights, parking apron, T-Hangars, freight terminal, CAA Communications Station (24-hour), U.S. Weather Bureau (24 hours), 80 octane fuel and Crash & Fire protection.

The HAC agreed to pave and provide flood lighting for the additional parking area on March 24, 1956.

At the time that Lihue Airport was originally planned, it was contemplated that two runways would be required in order to allow for cross-wind conditions.  However, experience demonstrated the need for only one runway, leaving the Commission with some land (on the side of the field away from the terminal) surplus to its needs.  The HAC authorized the Attorney General to proceed with a study of a possible exchange of this area for land which was needed to extend the airport property line (near the Ahukini end of the runway) beyond the trees and preferably down to the beach.  This would improve the safety of flying conditions at the airport and permit the removal of trees which constituted a hazard to flying.

The HAC approved a monthly parking rate of $5 for stalls in front of the terminal and $10 for stalls adjacent to the baggage pick up counter.

Other construction projects:

  • A project for new covered walkways and a baggage claim counter was completed on April 12, 1956.  Cost:  $39,252.
  • A project to upgrade the passenger terminal and build additional auto park areas was being planned in 1956.  Cost: $100,000.
  • The HAC adopted the Master Plan for Lihue Airport on February 28, 1957.
  • The HAC authorized the DPW to develop plans and cost estimates for additional lobby space and additional restroom facilities within the Lihue Terminal Building on March 23, 1957.
  • Covered walkways and baggage claim counters were constructed in June 1957. Cost: $47,049.
  • In October 1958, a parking lot was added to the existing terminal area and a restaurant building connected to the terminal was completed in March 1959.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 1874 dated January 9, 1959 withdrew 35.02 acres of land at Lihue Airport for exchange purposes.  The exchange between the Territory of Hawaii and Lihue Plantation Company was concluded to acquire land for additional aircraft parking and future master plan development in return for land not needed for airport purposes.  Governor’s Executive Order No. 1880 dated August 20, 1959 added 344.353 acres of land to Lihue Airport for aviation purposes.
  • The alteration and expansion of the terminal building and the enlargement of the auto parking area were completed in 1959.
  • Act 23, SLH 1960, appropriated $256,000 for airport improvements.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 1950 dated May 5, 1961 set aside 2.759 acres for an addition to Parcel D at Lihue Airport.
  • Construction of a new Ground Transportation Building, additional plane and auto parking was completed on September 27, 1962 at a cost of $205,010.  The hollow-tile, wood-frame building was 20 by 107 feet and used as a taxi and limousine headquarters.
  • Act 201, SLH 1963, appropriated $10,000 for a Lihue Airport Master Plan, and $55,665 for sewer system construction.
  • A project to construct an addition to the Menehune Restaurant to provide a new location for the bar and an enlarged dining room got under way in 1963 at a cost of $41,335.  Completed September 27, 1963.
  • Also under way was the construction of new T-hangars at a cost of $9,344.  Completed July 5, 1963.

The U.S. Weather Bureau commenced construction of a new balloon inflation building at the Lihue Airport in early 1964.

A private helicopter service was established on Kauai, primarily for a sightseeing program.  It employed a Bell helicopter carrying three passengers plus crew. Acceptance of the Na Pali Coast helicopter tour from Lihue Airport was enthusiastic and additional equipment was soon added.

In April 1964 Aloha Airlines inaugurated Hawaii’s first interisland scheduled night flight by offering night service to Kauai at a reduced fare.  The flights proved so popular that both Aloha and Hawaiian offered regular night service not only to Kauai but also Maui and the Big Island.

Other highlights:

  • Act 52, SLH 1964, appropriated $40,000 for construction of covered passageways, curbs and adjustment of roads, and a taxiway to light plane hangars.
  • Construction of a light plane taxiway and realignment of the entrance road, resurfacing of the taxiway and a slurry sealing of the apron began on June 24, 1965. Cost: $48,639.
  • Act 195, SLH 1965, appropriated $30,000 for incremental construction of improvements and ground transportation facilities.
  • A contract was awarded for the reroofing of the terminal building on January 24, 1966. Cost: $22,373.
  • Act 38, SLH 1966, appropriated $130,000 for improvements to the maintenance area and construction of a combination fire rescue and maintenance building and security fencing.
  • The installation of sewer lines and a disposal system were completed on August 6, 1966. Cost: $52,335.
  • A project to provide a covered passageway and ground transportation booths was completed on December 7, 1966. Cost: $17,100.
  • Act 217, SLH 1967, appropriated $791,000 for plans to widen the existing runway, land acquisition, extension to present runway, holding aprons, parallel taxiway and other improvements.
  • Runway 3-21 was resurfaced on August 16, 1967. Cost: $92,245.
  • A contract was awarded for repairing the floor tile on May 16, 1967. Cost: $2,885.
  • A contract was awarded to repaint the terminal building on May 26, 1967. Cost: $5,615.
  • Act 40, SLH 1968, appropriated funds for a long range master plan, including preliminary engineering needs, and $1.65 million to widen the existing runway, land acquisition, extension to present runway, construction of holding aprons and portion of parallel taxiway and other improvements.
  • Improvements to the maintenance area, expansion of the air cargo building, and a new fire and rescue equipment shed were completed on June 18, 1968. Cost: $61,902.
  • Improvements to the maintenance area, grading, drainage, paving and ramp lighting were completed on June 18, 1968. Cost: $46,990.
  • A new fire truck was procured and place in operation in 1968.
  • Act 155, SLH 1969, appropriated $1.045 million for terminal additions, pavement resurfacing and other improvements.

Fierce winds up to 84 miles an hour hit Kauai on January 13, 1970.  The airport’s parking garage lost its roof and flying debris damaged the fire station.  Repairs were made at a cost of $5,000.

Work was completed on an extension of Runway 3-21 from 5,100 feet to 6,000 feet in length on March 2, 1970.  The project included extending the taxiway and installing new taxiway lighting. Cost: $1,285,923.  Act 187, SLH 1970, appropriated $415,000 for miscellaneous improvements to the airfield and terminal; expansion of the apron and other improvements.

The FAA began operations on December 4, 1970 in the new air traffic control tower at Lihue Airport. The tower was officially dedicated on December 22, 1970. Resurfacing and seal-coating of aprons and taxiways was completed on March 16, 1971. Cost: $56,510.

The FAA began to implement the Airport and Airways Development Act of 1970 under a plan entitled the Airport Certification Program.  Under this program, every airport serving air carriers certified by the Civil Aeronautics Board was required to maintain certificates from the FAA to remain in operation. This program imposed an entirely new system of inspections, record-keeping and reporting on airports and required additional funds and personnel to meet its stringent requirements.

The FAA also published a “Notice of Proposed rule-Making on Aviation Security” and began to implement an airport security system. This new program meant new obligations for the Airports Division and required equipment expenditures and personnel increases.

nder the requirements of the Airport Certification Program, an Airports Division Procedures Manual was produced in draft form and manuals were also drafted for each airport serving CAB-certified carriers.

After a lapse of several years, the FAA revived a system of inspections under its Compliance Program, and inspected all airports within the State. Hawaii’s airports passed inspection in every important respect, and corrective measures were initiated to correct some minor instances of non-compliance, such as lack of adequate clear zones.

Highlights of the 1970s:

  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 2600 dated January 26, 1972 set aside three parcels of land totaling 26.9255 acres for an addition to Lihue Airport.  Governor’s Executive Order No. 2602 set aside 0.164 acres for an addition to Lihue Airport.
  • Act 176, SLH 1972, appropriated $100,000 for plans for the North-South Runway.
  • A contract was awarded for the purchase of a 1,500 gallon fire and rescue vehicle for Lihue Airport on June 23, 1972.  Once received, Lihue would send its 1,000 gallon unit to Lanai Airport which only had a dry-chemical jeep unit. A quick-response rescue vehicle was also ordered for Lihue.  The vehicle could transport the fire chief, break-in tools and fire suppressant chemicals to a crash within three to four minutes, while slower equipment was still on the way.  The vehicle could carry 500 gallons of water, 55 gallons of foam concentrate and 500 pounds of dry chemical.
  • Act 218, SLH 1973, appropriated $900,000 for terminal and airfield improvements; and $1.55 million for plans, land acquisition and construction of a new runway.
  • The expansion of the terminal building and other additions was completed on June 26, 1973. Cost: $405,938.

The increasing number of hotels on Kauai made it an attractive tourist destination and the   there was a 25 percent increase in operations in 1973.  By 1974, it was evident that the passenger flow at Lihue had exceeded the physical capabilities of the terminal and there were increasing reports of clogged sewers and inoperative utilities.  The airlines decision to buy larger aircraft made construction of a second runway necessary and a new terminal was also planned.

Fencing was installed at Lihue Airport in 1974 to meet new FAA security requirements. Cost: $80,000.


  • Safety glass was installed in the main terminal on February 28, 1974. Cost: $9,500.
  • Air conditioning was installed in the ticket and waiting lobbies on May 22, 1974. Cost: $135,090.
  • A visual guidance lighting system was installed at the approach to Runway 3 to permit the safer landing of aircraft on May 10, 1974. Cost: $42,641.
  • A contract was awarded for furnishing, installing and maintaining flight information systems on May 1, 1974. Cost: $24,066.
  • Act 218, SLH 1974, appropriated $10.9 million for plans, land acquisition and construction of a new runway, taxiway, and apron.
  • A contract was awarded for miscellaneous improvements on September 27, 1974. Cost: $137,000.  Completed: November 1975.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 2705 dated October 17, 1974 set aside 184.853 acres for an addition to Lihue Airport.
  • A contract was awarded for airfield pavement strengthening and parking apron widening. Cost: $1,037,745.  Completed: September 1975.

By 1975 Lihue Airport was organized with an Office Service Unit, Visitors Information Section, a Maintenance Services Section, a Crash Fire Unit, Custodial Section and a Security Services Section.  The Crash Fire unit was staffed by volunteers.  The security section consisted of four patrolmen of the State Airports Division since the County of Kauai was unable to assign policemen to the airport.  The FAA Part 107 Regulations were met by utilizing contractual services, deputized, security personnel.  The airport was authorized 25 positions. The Control Tower was in operation from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.

The pavement for Runway 3-21 was strengthened and the parking apron widened, since interisland aircraft increased in both number and size.  After the new north-south runway is completed, this runway will be widened and lengthened to the next current design standards.

Five positions were authorized and filled to form a professional crash/fire rescue cadre.


  • Renovations to the restaurant were completed in February 1976. Cost: $67,198.
  • Grooving of the runway was completed in May 1976. Cost: $54,728.
  • Act 226, SLH 1976, appropriated $11 million for plans, land acquisition and construction of a new runway and taxiway, apron, lighting and miscellaneous improvements.
  • Act 10, SLH 1977, appropriated $7.46 million for design and construction of new terminal facilities.

Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co. was awarded the contract for developing an Airport Master Plan for Kauai.  The number of passengers, cargo and operations had almost saturated Lihue Airport’s capacity by 1977.  Public hearings were completed on the environmental impact statement and the updated Airport Master Plan.  The basic findings and conclusions were:

  • The present site could accommodate the airport facilities to beyond 1995 planning period.
  • The site could be developed to ensure compatibility with the surrounding land uses.
  • The airport site should be expanded from 185 acres to 810 acres.
  • There was a need to construct a north-south runway 17-35 of 6,500 feet by 150 feet for ILS operations.
  • Runway 3-21 should be extended to 6,500 feet by 150 feet as a primary takeoff runway.
  • A new terminal complex was needed.
  • Other support facilities were needed.


  • Act 243, SLH 1978, appropriated $7.5 million for design and construction of a new passenger terminal.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 2928 dated September 2, 1978 set aside three land parcels for an addition to Lihue Airport: 0.8194, 1.537 and 1.209 acres.
  • A new fire station was dedicated on September 22, 1978.  It replaced an older facility and provided comfortable quarters for the firemen and ample space for their equipment. A vast improvement was afforded to the crash fire rescue capabilities of the airport; 6,000 square feet of space under roof with room for four crash fire vehicles.  Funding for the project was partially financed by the Airport Development Aid Program of the FAA.  Cost: $517,886.
  • Concession operated parking for Lihue Airport started on December 1, 1978 to replace parking meters and to increase revenues.  The contract was awarded to APCOA, Inc. on the basis of bids received that guaranteed a minimum rental of $340,000 over the 10-year contract.  In addition, the concessionaire was required to pay a percentage of his annual gross receipts to the Airports Division.
  • Disaster planning was demonstrated on December 8, 1978 through Exercise AIRAX 78. Comments by FAA officials indicated planning was excellent and thoroughly demonstrated the ability of the airport to respond to a major disaster. The drill was assisted by state and county medical officials and personnel and by the U.S. Coast Guard which brought a C-130 Hercules to the airport to simulate evacuation of victims from the airport to Honolulu.
  • Act 214, SLH 1979, appropriated $5 million for the design and construction of a new passenger terminal.
  • Planning for the new runway was 90 percent compete by mid-1979.  The project was not expected to be started until land acquisition problems with Lihue Plantation could be resolved. A major obstacle was finding an alternate system for disposal of mill waste water which was discharged into the fields to be acquired for the new runway and terminal building.
  • A lease for a parcel on which a cargo terminal would be built was executed by the state with DHL Island Airways in 1979.  Lacking cargo terminal space, the airport recommended the construction of a cargo terminal at the site recommended by the Master Plan.  Until land could be acquired, cargo operators were advised to build a temporary terminal to be jointly used by all carriers.
  • Act 300, SLH 1980, appropriated $8.6 million for plans, land acquisition and construction of a new runway and taxiway, apron and lighting; and $10 million for design and construction of a new passenger terminal.

The State Land Use Commission granted the state approval to complete plans for airport expansion facilities at Lihue Airport in 1980.  The new facility would have instrument landing capabilities, an FAA requirement for jet airports.

Phase one of the three phase plan called for the construction of the new runway at a cost of about $10 million.  Phase two involved the new terminal site along with various general aviation aprons, helipad, hangers and support services.  Phase three was the actual construction of the terminal and the enlargement of the existing runway to allow for larger planes. The project was expected to be completed in 1987.

A ground breaking ceremony was held on March 6, 1981 for the new north-south 6,500-foot by 150 foot runway.  The construction was the beginning phase of an overall Master Plan for the improvement of Lihue Airport.  The new runway would allow for quieter take-offs and landings and improve the safety and efficiency of all airport operations.  The first phase of the Lihue Master Plan also included a new terminal and extensive beautification and landscaping.


  • Act 1, Special Session 1, 1981, appropriated $13.65 million for a new passenger terminal complex.
  • Act 264, SLH 1982, appropriated $21.65 million for design and construction of a new terminal complex.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 3500 dated September 1, 1982 set aside 2.798 acres at Ninini Point for an addition to Lihue Airport.
  • Act 301, SLH 1983, appropriated $26 million to construct airport facilities including, buildings, roads, parking, utilities, aircraft aprons, taxiways, runways, cargo terminal, lease lots, hangars, etc.
  • Work was completed on the Hawaiian Airlines baggage claim facility in 1983, thereby expanding capacity and facilitating passenger flow through the terminal.

Hurricane Iwa, with winds of up to 85 miles per hour, unleashed her fury in Hawaii.  Hardest hit was Kauai where the airport received extensive damage.  Electrical power was out for several days.  As soon as the winds died down, airport staff worked through the night to clear the runways at Lihue Airport so that emergency aircraft could land at first light to assist in the recovery effort.  For the weeks following the hurricane, planes landed continuously to bring supplies and help to the battered island.  Regular passenger service to Lihue began about a month later.  Tourism to the island came to a standstill as hotels that were undamaged by the storm were used by utility and construction workers, as well as island residents whose homes had been destroyed. Visitors to Kauai declined 14 percent following the hurricane.

The new $13.3 million 6,500-foot runway 17-35 was dedicated on April 26, 1984. The new runway was designed for aircraft approaches over water, thereby reducing noise levels in urban areas and providing safer flight operations with the installation of an instrument landing system by the FAA. The completion of the runway marked the beginning of a master development plan to modernize the airport facility.

Construction began on the new access roads, parking lot and utilities for the new terminal on April 16, 1984.  Cost: $5.42 million.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 24, 1984 for the new Lihue Airport Terminal Complex. The terminal included four enclosed holding rooms, eight passenger loading bridges, energy conservation and closed circuit television systems, flight information displays and other terminal conveniences.  The new terminal would also house a flower shop, newsstand, gift shop, restaurant, and car rental agencies.  Cost: $18.96 million.


  • Act 285, SLH 1984, appropriated $26 million to construct airport facilities including, buildings, roads, parking, utilities, aircraft aprons, taxiways, runways, cargo terminal, lease lots, and hangars.
  • Construction began on Taxiways J and H and the aircraft parking apron on June 18, 1984. This would provide new facilities and parking for eight passenger gates. Cost: $5.57 million. Completed August 1985.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 3259 dated August 11, 1984 set aside 5.663 acres of land for an addition to Lihue Airport.

The first direct commercial flight from Los Angeles to Kauai by United Airlines arrived in August 1984.  The airport was originally built to accommodate DC-3s so it was discovered that with the large wing span for the DC-8s a dust problem developed. Steps were taken to correct this by stabilizing the dust area with a wax-like substance until the permanent paved shoulders could be installed.

Construction continued in the 1980s:

  • Construction began on the new maintenance baseyard on May 13, 1985. Cost: $1.18 million. Completed February 1986.
  • Act 300, SLH 1985, appropriated $8 million to construct airport facilities including, buildings, roads, parking, utilities, aircraft aprons, taxiways, runways, cargo terminal, lease lots, and hangars..
  • Construction of a new ground transportation subdivision began in July 1985.
  • A contract for airfield shoulder stabilization began in August 1985. Cost: $1.8 million. Completed January 1986.
  • Act 345, SLH 1986, appropriated $8 million to construct airport facilities.
  • The new ground transportation subdivision was completed in February 1986. Cost: $890,000.
  • A separate terminal area for helicopter activities and for additional ground transportation storage areas adjacent to the new Maintenance Baseyard is included in the master plan revision. Until the new helicopter terminal is completed, the existing helipads were the subject of careful scrutiny by the FAA and declared satisfactory based on revised layout and operating procedures.
  • New baggage claim devices were installed in September 1986. Cost: $500,000.
  • Signs and graphics for the new terminal were installed in October 1986. Cost: $500,000.
  • Four baggage carousels were installed in October 1986. Cost: $600,000.
  • Eight passenger loading bridges were installed in November 1986. Cost: $2.3 million.

The new $36 million passenger terminal was dedicated on February 25, 1987 and became operational the next day, serving the three interisland carriers, and United Airlines. The new terminal contained more than 200,000 square feet of space and was nearly five times the size of the old terminal and had all the amenities necessary for fast, convenient and streamlined handling of interisland and mainland passengers.

The main passenger terminal building could comfortably accommodate the operational needs of six airlines.  Each airline check-in counter had six to eight check-in positions. Four large holding rooms accommodated waiting passengers.  Each holding room had two gates with loading bridges to connect the terminal to the aircraft.

There were four new baggage claim carousels, two at each end of the terminal to serve arriving passengers. Sixty-four arrival and departure flight information display screens were located throughout the terminal.

The central lobby featured a gift shop, flower shop, newsstand, restaurant, snack bar and beverage facility.

The new terminal had 500 public and 200 employee parking stalls. A separate U-Drive building was centered across from the main terminal.  Bus parking stalls were provided for tour groups at each end of the terminal next to the baggage claim facilities.

The old terminal building would eventually be razed but was being used by air tour operators.

The adjoining new airfield improvements cost $6.6 million.

An expanded roadway system, parking lot and utility systems, and new maintenance baseyard were completed in 1987.

Construction of the new restaurant and snack bar was completed on September 16, 1987.  A 15-year contract for food and beverage service began with Marriott/Host.  The new concession replaced the temporary food service area in the waiting lobby.  The snack bar was operated as a minority business enterprise under a subcontract of the food and beverage concession. Cost: $1.7 million.

Modifications to taxiways were completed in October 1987. Cost: $1.4 million.

Other highlights:

  • Act 216, SLH 1987, appropriated $5.8 million for construction of facilities in the airport complex, and $1.4 million for airfield improvements.
  • An aircraft waste disposal system was installed in June 1987. Cost: $1.1 million.
  • Plans were in progress for widening and lengthening Runway 3-21, utility and drainage improvements, emergency access roads, realignment of service roads and training facility for fire fighting.
  • Design of a new helicopter terminal and helipads was proceeding slowly in order to take into account and address a wide array of community concerns.

In 1988, the new Master Plan for Lihue Airport included aircraft noise impact studies and the development plan for the old terminal area.  Several public hearings were held in 1988 to discuss plans for the development of helicopter facilities which would correct the problem of congestion at the existing helipad which needed to be moved to allow for the construction of taxiways.

The Richard A. Kawakami Terminal, named in honor of the late Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives, was dedicated at Lihue Airport on December 2, 1988. A bronze bust of Kawakami was unveiled and a tile mural by Kauai artist David Kuraoka, which was located in the lobby of the terminal, was also dedicated during the ceremony.

Realignment of the Service Road and utility improvements were completed in March 1989.  The project involved the alignment of Ahukini Road and the installation of new drainage pipes and underground sewer and electrical systems. Cost: $3.3 million.

Two legislative appropriations provided funding for new facilities.  Act 314, SLH 1989, appropriated $80,000 for plans and design for replacement of the Civil Air Patrol Hangars and facilities.  Act 316, SLH 1989, appropriated $34.6 million for design and construction of airport complex improvements, and $15.8 million to design and construct an extension to the runway.

By 1989 community interest in construction of helicopter facilities at Lihue Airport was high because of the considerable number of helicopter operators engaged in sightseeing activities over the island.  Public information meetings were held to discuss plans for the development of future helicopter facilities to ease congestion at the existing helipad.

Plans were underway to finalize the decision on a site for an inland heliport that would be designed and built by the state.  Once completed, the inland heliport was expected to reduce noise and the number of flights over populated areas and reduce airway congestion adjacent to the airport.

Construction of interim helicopter facilities to serve helicopter operations until a permanent inland heliport could be built started in August 1989. The facilities were completed in June 1990.  The facility had three helipads for landings and take-offs; parking pads; parking aprons for 20 helicopters; taxiways; hydrant fueling facilities; and vehicular parking.  A new storm drainage system, landscaping, irrigation system, new access roads and fencing were also included in the project. Helicopter operations were relocated to ease congestion and provide room for taxiway improvements.  Cost: $3 million.

Other highlights:

  • Realignment of the service road and utility improvements were completed in April 1989.
  • Work to extend Runway 3-21 to 6,500 feet and widen it to 150 feet started in May 1990.
  • Construction began in February 1990 on a new 30,000 cargo building and 4,000 square foot Commuter Terminal, including aprons and taxiways for the two facilities.
  • Act 299, SLH 1990, appropriated $39.5 million for design and construction of airport facilities; and $14.8 million for design and construction of an extension to the existing runway.
  • New emergency roads to give crash fire vehicles improved access and a training exercise fire pit were constructed.
  • Construction of a new command center required by the FAA and miscellaneous safety improvements were completed in 1990.
  • Improvements to the new terminal were completed in November 1990.  Cost: $2 million.
  • Governor’s Executive Order No. 3500 dated December 17, 1990 set aside 2.92 acres of land for an addition to Lihue Airport.

The Lihue Airport Master Plan was approved in January 1990.  It was prepared by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division through extensive consultation with the FAA, a Technical Advisory Committee and the general public.

Lihue Airport now encompassed 804 acres of land. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) classified Lihue Airport as “Commercial Service-Primary Airport-Short Haul”, which served short-haul air carrier routes of less than 500 miles.

Phase I of the Master Plan (1989-1991) proposed spending $24.3 million on land acquisition ($7.7 million), noise mitigation ($490,500), airfield improvements ($7.9 million), navigational aids ($1.4 million), Terminal Area complex improvements ($1.5 million), infrastructure ($3.6 million) and airport support ($1.9 million).

Phase II of the Master Plan (1991-1996) proposed spending $16.7 million on the airfield ($2.2 million), terminal area complex ($2.7 million), infrastructure ($11.4 million) and Airport Support ($390,000).

Phase III of the Master Plan (1996-2005) proposed spending $15.6 million on the airfield ($6.2 million), Terminal Area complex ($3.2 million), Infrastructure ($810,000) and Airport Support ($5.4 million).

A dedication was held for the new 30,000 square foot cargo building on March 14, 1991and a 4,800 square foot Commuter Terminal, including aprons and taxiways for the two facilities. Although there was no scheduled commuter service to Lihue Airport, the terminal had passenger ticketing and check-in; lobby and waiting areas; and a pilot lounge.  The terminal provided accommodations for fixed-wing general aviation, air taxi and tour aircraft operations. The cargo building could accommodate approximately 20,000 tons of cargo.  Also constructed was an Interim Helicopter Facility. Cost: $14 million.

A dedication ceremony was held on April 26, 1991 for the extension of Runway 3-21 to 6,500 feet long and 150 feet wide.  The project also included strengthening of the runway pavement to support heavier aircraft loads and construction of new emergency roads to give crash fire vehicles improved access and a training exercise fire fit.  Cost: $23.1 million.

The HDOT held public meetings in 1991 to discuss construction of an inland heliport to decrease helicopter noise complaints. An environmental impact statement got underway in 1992.  An interim helicopter facility was being used to serve helicopter operations until the inland heliport is built.

Highlights of the 1990s:

  • Act 296, SLH 1991, appropriated $5.76 million for airport complex improvements.
  • Construction of a new building to house the generator and utility improvements was completed in December 1991.  Cost: $2 million.
  • Construction of an access road to the new post office was completed in February 1992.  Cost: $766,312.
  • A project to realign 3,400 feet of Taxiway A was completed in April 1992.  It now runs parallel with Runway 3-21 and meets current FAA dimensional and pavement design standards. Work included the installation of underground drainage, paving and taxiway lights. Cost: $3.9 million.
  • Act 300, SLH 1992, appropriated $5.76 million for construction of airport complex facilities.
    Improvements to improve safety, security and operational efficiency were completed in July 1992.  Cost: $2.1 million.
  • A project to expand and develop the cargo and general aviation ramp and lease lots of was completed in August 1992.  The project included constructing an aircraft parking apron and associated taxiway and developing lease lots for commercial aviation activities. Cost: $5.5 million.
  • Eight loading bridges were replaced in September 1992. Cost: $3.3 million.
  • Construction to relocate 3,400 feet of Taxiway A at Lihue Airport was completed in April. 1992. Taxiway A now runs parallel with Runway 3-21 and meets current FAA dimensional and pavement design standards.

Hurricane Iniki, with 160 mph winds, moved directly over Kauai on September 11, 1992, inflicting wide-spread damage at Lihue Airport.  Once the hurricane passed, the airport became the lifeline for the people of the Garden Island; the only way to bring in emergency supplies and to allow visitors who were caught on the island to get away. As soon as Iniki’s winds abated, airport personnel went to work cleaning up the facilities so they could be used as quickly as possible.  It meant working all night to clear the runways of roofing material, trees, canoes and other debris.

When the first plane arrived at daybreak on September 12, it found an airport that despite uncertain electrical power and telephone service was functioning and ready to play its very important role in providing emergency supplies, food and water to Kauai.  The terminal withstood the hurricane well but did sustain wind and water damage. The roof of the new cargo building was lost.

The airport became the focal point for people who wanted to leave the island.  More than 7,000 people flew off the island in the two days following the storm and about 1,000 more on the third day.  Air traffic at the airport was limited to emergency services and airlines did not resume regular passenger service for several weeks.

The Lihue Airport Master Plan was completed in 1993.  Recommendations in the master plan for improvements included: extension of Runway 17-35 to 8,500 feet to adequately accommodate the landing and takeoff of non-stop wide body aircraft to the Mainland; a terminal area expansion including extension of the aircraft parking apron, passenger terminal concourse and the construction of four new connecting taxiways; an additional cargo building; new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Station; and a new National Weather Service facility.


  • Renovations were complete for new airport offices and a Governor’s Lounge in May 1993. Cost: $550,904.
  • Act 289, SLH 1993, appropriated $15.9 million for design and construction in the airport complex.
  • Act 252, SLH 1994, appropriated $21 million for design and construction of airport facilities.
  • A new security system was installed in September 1994.  Cost: $823,386.
  • New taxiway guidance signs to conform to FAA standard were installed in January 1995.  Cost: $742,634.
  • The new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting station was dedicated on March 17, 1995. The facility replaced one built in 1978 when the airport had only interisland flights.  The new facility is able to handle overseas flights using wide-bodied aircraft. Cost: $5.9 million.
  • Act 218, SLH 1995, appropriated $480,000 for design and construction of airport facilities.
  • Canada 3000 began direct flights from Vancouver to LIH on December 5, 1995 using a Boeing 757 aircraft, capable of bringing in 226 Canadian tourists daily.
  • Act 287, SLH 1996, appropriated $479,000 for design and construction of the service area extension; $3 million for construction of an interim heliport; $7.3 million for design and construction of a general aviation subdivision; and $800,000 for plans for an Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Act 328, SLH 1997, appropriated $30 million for design and construction of an extension to Runway 17-35; $7.9 million for design and construction of a new Traffic Control Tower; $1.4 million for design and construction of a connector road to Lihue Post Office; $350,000 for design of a new cargo building adjacent to the commuter terminal; $11.8 million for construction of a general aviation subdivision and Ahukini Road realignment; $2.5 million for construction of heliport hangars and office space; $550,000 for design for a general aviation apron; and $1.5 million for land acquisition.
  • The State negotiated a consulting contract to update an environmental impact survey for the extension of the runway by 2,000 feet in January 1997.
  • Construction began in October 1996 on replacing the General Aviation T-Hangars that were damaged by Hurricane Iniki.  The General Aviation apron and T-hangars were dedicated on April 21, 1998.  Cost: $6.2 million.
  • United Airlines restarted daily nonstop flights to Lihue, Kauai on June 10, 1998 after halting service after Hurricane Iniki.
  • Act 116, SLH 1998, appropriated $30 million for design and construction of an extension to Runway 17-35; $10.3 million for design and construction of a new Traffic Control Tower; $1.4 million for design and construction of a connector road to Lihue Post Office; $350,000 for design of a new cargo building adjacent to the commuter terminal; $11.8 million for construction of a general aviation subdivision and Ahukini Road realignment; $2.5 million for construction of heliport hangars and office space; $550,000 for design for a general aviation apron; $7 million for land acquisition; and $652,000 for design and construction of a three bay facility at the maintenance baseyard.
  • Sunquest Trips began providing temporary weekly, direct flights between San Francisco and Lihue using DC-10 aircraft on April 9, 1999.
  • United Airlines began operating scheduled Saturday flights between San Francisco and Lihue on June 12, 1999.
  • Act 91, SLH 1999, appropriated $200,000 for construction of a three-bay storage facility at maintenance baseyard.
  • China Southern airlines began operating B777 from Las Vegas-Lihue-Hong Kong, arriving on Tuesdays and departing on Thursdays on September 28, 1999.
  • The cultural theme developed for Lihue Airport was the Garden Isle.  The project to implement the theme began construction in October 1999.  Improvements included a Lauae leaf mural above the ticket counter, skylights, hula photo murals in the concourses and a kapa border used throughout the terminal. Construction of the improvements was completed in July 2000. Cost: $616,076.
  • United Airlines added a San Francisco-Lihue flight on Sundays using 188 seat Boeing 757 aircraft effective October 31, 1999.
  • Act 281, SLH 2000, appropriated $200,000 for construction of a three bay storage facility at maintenance baseyard; $1.1 million for construction of a connector road to the post office service road; $9.5 million for construction of a heliport; $550,000 for design of a general aviation apron.
  • United Airlines increased its San Francisco-Lihue service on October 31, 2000 to daily instead of only Saturdays and Sundays.  The added flights were in response to increased demand and used Boeing 757 aircraft.

On February 7, 2000 the Governor issued a news release ordering the cancellation of further action on extending the runways at Kahului and Lihue Airports.  As stated by the Governor, “Several factors—including decreased airport revenues, improved aircraft technologies and an airline industry that no longer supports the improvements—make it obvious these projects should not go forward.”

In mid-2001 Ahukini Road was realigned to provide additional lease lots for airport tenants.  Work included grading, utilities and roadway paving. Cost: $19.2 million.  Act 259, SLH 2001, appropriated $1.5 million for construction of a three bay facility and improvements to existing maintenance shop building; $1 million for design and construction of additional employee parking facilities; $450,000 for design and construction of improvements to baggage facilities to accommodate wide-body aircraft; and $13.8 million for construction of a general aviation apron.

The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration shutting down all U.S. airports for three days.  The aviation system was then incrementally restored as airport and air carriers complied with new safety and security requirements, including heightened passenger security screening. The attacks had a major financial impact on the aviation industry, accelerating an already deteriorating financial condition for airlines.  Hawaii airports were impacted greatly with a decrease in flights and passengers.

Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act on November 19, 2001 which established the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  TSA oversees all transportation security including airport security checkpoint screening, previously managed by the airlines.

As with many airports, heightened passenger security screening requirement created long lines and extended delays for passengers.  The airport worked with TSA and other agencies to minimize inconvenience to the travelling public.

Highlights of the 2000s:

  • Phase I of the Apron Site Preparation and Road Realignment was completed in September 2001.  Cost: $15.5 million.
  • A beautification project to enhance the gateway to the airport at Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway was completed in June 2002.  Cost: $5.4 million.
  • Act 200, SLH 2003, appropriated $9 million for construction of a heliport; and $2.5 million for baggage claim improvements.
  • A three-bay storage facility and an extension was made to the airport maintenance baseyard in October 2003.  Cost: $1.6 million.
  • Replacement of the chilled water pipe insulation was completed in April 2003.  Cost: $391,000.
  • Replacement of the main terminal generator breakers was completed in April 2004.  Cost: $73,000.
  • The public address system was upgraded in September 2009.  Cost: $695,500.
  • Act 41, SLH 2004, appropriated $9 million for construction of a heliport; and $2.5 million for baggage claim improvements.
  • On October 1, 2004 the FAA granted authority to impose and collect passenger facility charges (PFC) at the airport. The PFC revenue was utilized for FAA approved projects.
  • Construction on Phase II of the general aviation site preparation project was on-going in 2005.  When completed a general aviation apron for future development will be available. Cost: $14 million.
  • Architectural barriers were removed in July 2005.  Cost: $440,000.
  • New loading bridges were installed in September 2005.  Cost: $4.5 million.
  • Act 160, SLH 2006, appropriated $4.3 million for construction of a perimeter road and airfield fence; $1.2 million for the restoration of the Ahukini Dump; $17.1 million for land acquisition of a 173 acre parcel north of Ahukini Road; $5.1 million for construction improvements to baggage facilities; $6.7 million for air conditioning system replacement; and $17 million for construction of an inline baggage system improvement.
  • Security issues remained a primary concern in 2006.  The TSA and the airport continued their partnership to improve the passenger checkpoint and baggage screening process without adversely impacting the passenger flow.  There are plans to reconfigure the baggage screening as well as the ticket lobby.  The baggage screening equipment currently located in the ticket lobby will be relocated behind the walls and integrated with the conveyor system. This will relieve the congestion in the ticket lobby and the baggage screening portion of the check in process will appear seamless to the passengers.
  • Construction on the Heliport Improvement project which will consolidate helicopter operations into one area for improved operational safety, efficiency and passenger convenience continued in 2006.
  • Act 213, SLH 2007, appropriated $3.2 million for construction of additional parking spaces.
  • Heliport improvements were completed in October 2007.  Cost: $8.3 million.
  • Act 158, SLH 2008, appropriated $3.1 million for parking lot expansion; $6.4 million for inline baggage system improvements; $784,000 for restoration of Ahukini Dump; and $1.9 million for a security access control and close circuit television system.
  • The perimeter road and fence were upgraded.  Cost: $4.6 million.

On March 31, 2008 Aloha Airlines, the second oldest airline in Hawaii, abruptly ceased all of its interisland and overseas flights, after declaring bankruptcy several days earlier.

Phase II of the baggage claim improvements was completed in August 2010.  Cost: $4.4 million.

  • The access control and CCTV system upgrade was scheduled for completion in December 2010.  Cost: $897,750.

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