HNL 2000s

Aloha Airlines initiated flight service from Honolulu International Airport to Oakland, California on February 14, 2000 with new B737-700 aircraft which carried 124 passengers and became a milestone in the extended twin-engine operations category.  On February 19, 2000 Aloha Airlines initiated flight service between Honolulu and Midway.

Work started on the $7.8 million Manuwai Canal Culvert Extension at Honolulu International Airport in February 2000.  This project will provide additional ramp space on the interisland portion of the airport.

The modifications to the International Arrivals Building at Honolulu International Airport were dedicated in July 2000.  This project improved the baggage claim area, rest rooms, air conditioning, lighting, and provided a Hawaiian Sense of Place to the facility.

A dedication was held for modifications to the International Arrivals Building on July 20, 2000.

Other airlines making the news in 2000 were:

  • Harlequin Air Corporation initiated charter flights from Japan to HNL.
  • Canadian Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection in Honolulu.
  • Kitty Hawk, Inc. discontinued air cargo service to Honolulu to be replaced by Pacific Air Cargo.
  • Continental Air Micronesia acquired new B737-700 aircraft to replace B727 aircraft on the Micronesia-Guam-Saipan-Tokyo and Taiwan routes.
  • United Airlines opened a new $4.5 million reservations center at HNL.
  • Polynesian Airlines resumed its two weekly flights between Honolulu and Apia, Western Samoa.

There was a transfer of 329 acres of land containing parts of Runway 8L, Taxiways A, B and RB and the runway protection zone from the General Services Administration through the FAA to the State of Hawaii. Hickam AFB had declared the land surplus and the State acquired it at no cost.  The Airports Division will maintain it for aeronautical purposes. This acquisition gives HNL total control and responsibility for all four runways and all taxiways except those on Hickam AFB. This acquisition was the result of seven years of negotiation with the Air Force.

The K-9 Explosive Detection Unit at Honolulu International Airport completed an intensive recertification evaluation by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2000.  All six K-9 teams passed with the best results of all FAA K-9 evaluations accomplished in the U. S. during the inspection cycle.

Construction to improve the Central Concourse started in November 2000. Work included improvements to the restrooms and stairwells in the Central Garden Area and installation of automatic sliding doors at the entrance to the Central Concourse.

Hawaiian Airlines announced a plan to acquire 13 B717-200 aircraft to replace the DC-9-50s and started a San Diego to Honolulu daily flight. June 2001

In Calendar Year 2000, Honolulu International was 23rd busiest airport in the United States and 39th in the world.

Other airlines making the news at HNL in 2001:

  • Aloha Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Las Vegas on February 14, 2001.
  • Aloha Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Kwajalein on April 9, 2001.
  • Aloha Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Orange County, California on May 1, 2001.
  • Hawaiian Airlines leased B767-300ER aircraft to replace the DC-10s for overseas flights.
  • Hawaiian Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and San Diego on June 15, 2001.
  • Air Canada assumed the routes of Canadian Airlines which went out of business and increased capacity on its Vancouver-Honolulu-Sydney route by providing an Airbus A340 aircraft with 284 seats.
  • American Airlines completed its absorption of Trans-World Airlines.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 when three airplanes were hijacked and crashed in unprecedented terrorist activity, changed commercial aviation forever.  Hawaii learned of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. in the early morning hours of September 11.

As a result of the terrorist attack, the Federal Aviation Administration shut down the nation’s commercial aviation system for three days.  Aircraft were received at the airport and grounded for three days while the federal government checked for threats and organized to respond to further attacks.

The aviation system was then incrementally restored as airport and air carriers complied with new safety and security requirements.  The heightened passenger security screening process increased safety but created some delays for passengers.

When flights resumed, Air National Guard aircraft were on patrol and the Coast Guard was checking the waters adjacent to Honolulu International Airport.

By the following month, Japan Airlines had cut 32 percent of its flights; Hawaiian Airlines cut 35 of 158 daily interisland flights and 22 of 120 weekly trans-Pacific flights. Aloha Airlines cut a similar number of interisland flights. All Nippon Airways ended its Honolulu flights and Northwest Airlines closed its Honolulu pilot base. The year 2002 started out with a continued drop in passengers, particularly from Japan but some airlines were trying new initiatives.

On November 23, 2001, President Bush signed the Airport Safety and Security Act which provided assistance to airlines, established the Transportation Security Administration and allowed Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines a temporary anti-trust exemption to coordinate operations, schedules and security requirements.

The terrorist attacks had a major financial impact on the aviation industry.  Prior to September 11, 2001, the airline industry was already in a financial downturn due to over expansion, decreased business travel and higher labor costs.  The losses related to September 11 accelerated an already deteriorating financial condition for the airlines.

To assist the airlines economically, the State waived all landing fees at HNL and other State airports for six and a half months ending April 1, 2002.

The changes in the airport retail industry following September 11 required the airport to operate under a new economic realty in which concession fees moved away from minimum annual guarantees toward percentage rents in which the airport and the concessions shared in the risks and rewards.

For the in-bound (duty free) concession, the projected reduction in revenue had a direct impact on the airport’s financial situation.  The airport had to use cash reserves to meet the revenue shortfalls. As cash reserves also fund a major portion of the Capital Improvement Program, a reassessment of projects and priorities was required.

Passenger traffic at Honolulu International suffered a 13.4 percent decrease in FY 2003.

When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) took over airport security for passenger screening and for checked baggage screening, TSA hired about 1,000 people statewide.  This resulted in the retirement/resignation of many experienced managers from the airport who transferred to new positions with TSA.

On January 2002  the FAA moved its facilities from Diamond Head to HNL after completion of a $56 million Honolulu Control Tower.

Airlines making news at HNL in 2002 were:

  • United Airlines inaugurated service to Denver on February 2, 2002.
  • Continental Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Houston on February 15, 2002.
  • Continental Airlines launched a second daily service between Honolulu and Houston.
  • United Airlines added a connection to Honolulu from Denver, brought back two red-eye flights to the Mainland West Coast and dabbled in discount fares.
  • Japan Airlines increased its daily flights from Tokyo from two to three daily.
  • Aloha Airlines began service from Burbank, California and from Vancouver to Honolulu.
  • Hawaiian Airlines started daily service between Honolulu and Phoenix on March 20, 2002.
  • Aloha Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Vancouver on November 1, 2002.
  • Aloha Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Roratonga on December 9, 2002.

Total passengers at HNL slipped two percent from 2001 to 19.75 million in 2002. This was 18.8 percent below the peak year of 1996. Forty-four percent of this drop was in international passengers but the remainder was interisland passengers due to major reductions in flights by Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines.

The November 19, 2001 enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act established the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  TSA now oversees all transportation security including airport security checkpoint screening, previously managed by the airlines.  As with many airports, heightened passenger security screening requirements have created long lines and extended delays for passengers.  The airport continues to work with the TSA and other agencies to minimize inconvenience to the traveling public.  On October 1, 2002, a ceremony was held for the federalization of checkpoints.

The airport continued to cope with new TSA security procedures.  Passenger screening lanes were added and improved.  Baggage inspection equipment was added with additional electrical circuits.  The airport assisted TSA in meeting its passenger screening standards and 100 percent screening of checked baggage requirements.

Decreases in passenger traffic were attributed to global events such as the war with Iraq, the consolidation of interisland flights by Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines and the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia.  International passenger travel from Asia decreased dramatically because of the war and SARS.  Honolulu handled 19 million passengers in FY 2003.

Significant projects at HNL included the Overseas Terminal Improvements, Phase II, and the Electrical System upgrade for TSA.  Work continued on other projects.

Airlines in the news at HNL during 2003 were:

  • Hawaii Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Las Vegas on January 8, 2003.
  • Hawaiian Airlines had its last DC 10 flight on February 27, 2003.
  • United Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Kansai, Japan on March 30, 2003.
  • CI resumed service between Honolulu and Taipei on July 17, 2003.
  • Delta Airlines resumed service between Honolulu and Atlanta on August 1, 2003.
  • Delta Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Cincinnati on November 1, 2003.
  • Aloha Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Pago Pago on November 16, 2003.


TSA and the airport were planning the reconfiguration of the passenger screening checkpoints.  In April 2004, TSA approved the layout of six permanent lanes at Security Checkpoint 3.  Checkpoint 3 opened in December 2004.  There were plans to reconfigure the baggage screening at Honolulu International. The baggage screening equipment currently located in the ticket lobbies will be relocated and integrated with the conveyor systems.  This will relieve the congestion in the ticket lobby and minimize passenger wait time.  Plans were also being finalized to replace the older security access control and closed circuit television (CCTV) system.

To encourage more direct flights from Honolulu, the airport implemented an Air Carrier Service Incentive Program in FY 2004 to attract new non-stop flight service to and from Honolulu International.  The incentive program, which granted landing fee credits, provided airline carriers an opportunity to promote Hawaii as a more profitable destination. Delta Airlines, Inc. added flights from Cincinnati to Honolulu and Atlanta to Honolulu. China Airlines, Ltd. added flights from Taipei to Honolulu.

The airlines continued to reduce costs by utilizing lighter, more fuel efficient aircraft and reducing the frequency of flights to increase passenger load factors.  As a result, landing fees, net of aviation fuel tax credits, decreased by $1.1 million or 3.1 percent compared to FY 2003.

The financial results for FY 2004 were significantly affected by a decrease in concession revenue and interest income and the continued impact from the events of September 11, 2001. Concession revenues decreased by $17.1 million primarily due to the withdrawal and settlement agreement with the DFS Group L.P. which lowered the minimal annual guarantee rent.

Due to the reduced revenues, the airport was required to operate within financial constraints. The events of 9/11 had a significant adverse impact on security and insurance costs.  Post 9/11 costs for security and insurance increased by an average of $10.8 million and $1.7 million per year, respectively.

Honolulu International had an annual passenger count of 18.8 million.  Aircraft operations were lower due to Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines significantly reducing interisland flights and carriers from Japan reducing flight schedules.  Landed weights also decreased as some airlines phased out heavier aircraft (such as DC-10s and 747s) and replaced them with smaller aircraft including Boeing 767-300s.

Work was completed on the strengthening of the Wiki Wiki bus infrastructure and on improvements to public restrooms in the main terminal and concourses.  Construction was on-going for the Phase II improvements to the Overseas Terminal.  This project renovates the terminal by improving high profile concession spaces and creating a new security checkpoint.

On February 13-14, 2004, HNL handled the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov 225, Mryia, which flew two sorties to ferry large German generators which had arrived from China by sea to Milwaukee, WI.  There is only one A225 in operation in the world.  Only two were ever built.  It has 6 jet turbofan engines, can fly a maximum gross takeoff weight of 1.3 million pounds and is significantly larger than the new Airbus A380.

Effective October 1, 2004 the FAA granted authority to the airport to impose and collect passenger facility charges (PFC) at Honolulu International.  The PFC revenue will be utilized for FAA approved projects which must be implemented by July 16, 2006.

Airlines making news at HNL in 2004 were:

  • Japan Airlines celebrated its 50 Anniversary and welcomed in invitation excursion flight on February 2, 2004.
  • ATA inaugurated service between Honolulu and Seattle on February 20, 2004.
  • The Ukrainian Antonov 225, the world’s largest aircraft with a gross maximum takeoff weight of 1.3 million pounds landed twice at HNL to carry oversize cargo to the mainland USA.
  • Harmony Airlines initiated daily service from Vancouver to Honolulu and to Maui on June 25, 2004.
  • Delta Airlines added service to and from Cincinnati and Atlanta.
  • China Airlines reinitiated flights from Taipei.
  • Hawaiian Airlines added several flights to the mainland and Sydney by B767-300.
  • A grand opening and blessing was held for the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge on August 3, 2004.
  • North American Airlines held its inaugural flight between Honolulu and Oakland on November 6, 2004.
  • Continental Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and Nagoya, Japan on December 20, 2004.

A ceremony was held at HNL on September 25, 2004 to unveil a new PATA plaque.

On December 1, 2004, a blessing ceremony was held for the new DFS Store at Checkpoint 3.

On December 13-14, 2004, HNL celebrated 100 Years of Powered Flight with appropriate activities.

Work began on the strengthening of the Diamond Head Concourse Wiki Wiki bus infrastructure.

The Overseas Terminal Improvements, Phase II, project was completed in 2004.  The project renovated the terminal by moving the in-bond concession and significant portions of the retail and food and beverage concessions.

The project to renovate and rebuild the first and second level roadway was completed, including installation of improved roadway lighting, traffic signals and traffic patterns. In an effort to achieve full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act, the architectural barrier removal project covering the Overseas Terminal and the three concourses was completed.  These improvements provided increased accessibility for the disabled.

HNL received three new 1,500 gallon Oshkosh Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Trucks in January 2005.

Seven inspection booths were added to the immigration floor of the International Arrivals Building which increased the capacity back to 2,800 passengers per hour and decreased waiting times which had increased after 9/11/2001 due to increased security measures.

Air traffic to HNL increased to 20.1 million passengers in 2005, including 2.14 million international arrivals, 498,000 tons of cargo and mail, and 330,506 air operations.  Revenue at HNL was $170 million with operating costs at $86.6 million

Airlines making news at HNL in 2005 were:

  • Eva Air initiated service between HNL and Taipei on June 25, 2005.
  • America West /US Air initiated service to Honolulu and Maui from Phoenix.
  • Hawaiian Airlines inaugurated service between Honolulu and San Jose, California on September 29, 2005.
  • West Jet inaugurated service between Honolulu and Vancouver on December 9, 2005.
  • US Air/American West inaugurated service between Honolulu and Phoenix on December 16, 2005.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Airport continued their partnership to improve the passenger checkpoint and baggage screening process in 2006 without adversely impacting passenger flows.  There were plans to reconfigure the baggage screening at additional ticket lobbies.

The baggage screening equipment currently located in the ticket lobbies will be relocated behind the walls and integrated with the conveyor systems.  This will relieve the congestion in the ticket lobbies and the baggage screening portion of the check-in process will appear seamless to the passengers.

Honolulu International Airport continued to be the State’s busiest airport with a passenger traffic count of 20,072,782 a slight increase of 0.9 percent in FY 2006 compared to FY 2005.

Construction began on the Explosive Detection System Integration, Phase I project. This project will relocate the TSA baggage screening from ticket lobbies 1, 2 and 3 to other areas.  Work is on-going on the strengthening of the 3rd level Diamond Head concourse Wiki Wiki bus infrastructure.

On March 25, 2006, Governor Linda Lingle unveiled a comprehensive plan to upgrade major airports on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.  The $2.3 billion, 12-year Airports Modernization Plan was developed in conjunction with the Airlines Committee of Hawai`i and other airport and visitor industry partners.  This modernization plan was designed to meet diverse needs – from security to convenience to efficiency – and to do so with the Aloha that our visitors and residents expect and deserve.

The plan involves implementing short-term projects within the next five years to improve passenger service and increase security and operational efficiencies.  These include upgrades to the passenger terminals, ticket counters, baggage screening operations, runways and airport aprons, airport infrastructure such as air conditioning, restroom facilities, elevators, escalators, electrical systems, drains and sprinkler systems.  In addition, the plan incorporates improvements to comply with federal regulations on storm water systems, runway safety, perimeter security and crash fire safety.

Long-term improvement projects include increasing the airports’ capacity and enhancing convenience and efficiency.   These projects include constructing additional gates, ramp space and passenger loading bridges, increasing holding room capacity, and expanding public parking facilities.  The proposed upgrades will be paid for entirely by airport fees and federal funds, and will not utilize any State General Funds.

A 10.5 hour power outage on the island of Oahu resulted from a 6.7 earthquake near North Kohala, Hawaii on October 15, 2006.  The airport remained open.

A dedication ceremony was held for new PATA Plaques on October 15, 2006.

HNL coped with the Navy’s SBX Radar Ship which was being readied offshore and in Pearl Harbor for deployment to Adak, Alaska. Because of the 200-foot height of the radar dome the airport’s east-west runways had to be closed as the ship came in or out of the Pearl Harbor Channel.  The same thing happens when a large aircraft carrier comes in.

The Transportation Security Administration of the U.D. Department of Homeland Safety presented their Industry Partner Award to the Governor and members of HNL staff for helping provide “World Class Security, Delivered with Aloha” in 2006.

Airlines making news at HNL in 2006 were:

  • Aloha Airlines celebrated its 60th anniversary on July 26, 2006.
  • Jet Star held its inaugural flight between Honolulu and Sydney, Australia on December 27, 2006.

On March 21, 2007 Honolulu International Airport celebrated its 80th anniversary.  A ceremony was held at John Rodgers Terminal for airport tenants.  As part of the celebration an 184-page full color book, Honolulu International Airport–the First 80 Years was published.  The book chronicles the birth and growth of HNL from its humble beginnings.  To read the electronic version of the book, click here.

Construction began in September 2007 on a new 1,800 stall parking lot between the Interisland and Overseas Terminals.  The $39.2 million project is slated for completion in December 2008.  To alleviate parking problems until the new lot is completed, a long-term economy parking lot at Lagoon Drive and Aolele Street and a cell phone waiting lot on Aolele Street were opened.

For more information on the history of Honolulu International Airport please click on one of the decades below.

HNL 1940s

HNL 1950s

HNL 1960s

HNL 1970s

HNL 1980s

HNL 1990s