Posted on Mar 24, 2015 in Chronology


1970 (13 Jan)

Fierce winds up to 84 mph hit Kauai tearing the roof off Lihue Airport’s parking structure and scattering debris, damaging the fire station.

1970 (20 Jan)

The last of Hickam’s Gooney Birds, C-47 aircraft No. 404, departed for Taiwan after a 14 ½ year stay at Hickam AFB.

1970 (Feb)

A 2,000 car five-story parking structure was completed at HNL.

1970 (Feb)

Runway 4R-22L at HNL was rebuilt and lengthened to 9,000 feet.

1970 (Feb)

Bus trains, each carrying 120 people, moved people from one point to another within HNL.

1970 (2 Feb)

The 4,500 foot airfield at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor was leased by the State from the Navy to allow general aviation training.

1970 (13 Feb)

An air cargo building costing $85,336 was completed at Kahului Airport.

1970 (3 March)

Honolulu International Airport welcomed its first regularly scheduled jumbo jet flight with a dedication program for the new Diamond Head Gull Wing.  The wing is one of the world’s first airport facilities specifically designed to handle the Boeing 747. Pan American World Airways scheduled the first regularly scheduled flight of a B747 aircraft to coincide with the dedication.  Charles Lindbergh, a consultant to Pan American, and a resident of Hana, Maui, was present to witness the B747 flight. The Diamond Head Gull Wing satellite terminal was completed with two loading bridges to serve it.

1970 (3 March)

Shortly after the Pan American arrival, a VC-10 aircraft carrying Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, Prince Philip and Princess Anne made a 45 minute refueling stop at HNL enroute to Fiji and New Zealand.

1970 (March)

Runway 3-31 at Lihue Airport was extended from 5,100 feet to 6,000 feet in length.  Planning began for a new terminal.

1970 (1 April)

New Wiki Wiki buses went into operation at HNL.

1970 (18 April)

President Richard M. Nixon arrived at HNL and presented the nation’s highest civilian decoration to returning Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred Haise Jr. and John H. Swigert.  The ceremony was held on the ramp area near Lagoon Drive.

1970 (30 June)

Kona Airport was closed after its last scheduled flight.

1970 (1 July)

The new Keahole Airport on the Big Island of Hawaii was dedicated. It had a 6,500-foot runway, a parallel taxiway, one high-speed turnoff, wide aprons and ample parking areas.  The terminal consisted of a cluster of high-beam Polynesian style buildings topped with shake roofs. The airport was described as a delightful melding of ancient with modern in a unique cluster of terminal structures resembling a Hawaiian Village.  It was the first airport ever built for the State of Hawaii with a consultant firm furnishing the total project management.

1970 (5 July)

The first C-5A aircraft arrived at Hickam AFB.

1970 (Oct)

Keahole, Waimea-Kohala and Upolu Airports were placed under the control of the new HDOT Airports Division North Hawaii District.

1970 (4 Dec)

A new FAA Air Traffic Control Tower was dedicated at Lihue Airport.

1970 (June)

A lease for Bellows Field was being reviewed in Washington, D.C. by the Department of Defense.


Governor John Burns appointed the Hilo Airport Advisory Committee composed of business and civic leaders in Hilo to make recommendations for the long-range development of General Lyman Field.  The commission recommended construction of a new terminal on the south side of Runway 8-26 with an apron capable of accommodating four interisland jets and eight 707 size aircraft and strong enough to support 747 type aircraft.


Long-term leases were granted to Braniff International, Continental Airlines, Western Airlines, Trans World Airlines, American Airlines, Air New Zealand, and Union de Transports Aeriens.  They were similar to the leases granted in 1968 to other carriers. Air Siam and Korean Airlines were later granted leases.


Runway 5-23 at Kalaupapa was extended from 1,658 feet to 2,750 feet in length.

1971 (Jan)

The terminal at Lanai Airport was expanded.

1971 (6 Feb)

The first 747 jumbo jet to land at General Lyman Field in Hilo arrived on February 6, 1971.  The Braniff aircraft carried a tour party and a score of travel agents.

1971 (14 Feb)

The Apollo 14 command module stopped at Hickam AFB for post-flight deactivation.

1971 (25 Feb)

The first T-29 Flying Classroom aircraft arrived at Hickam AFB from Maxwell AFB.

1971 (21 April)

The Federal Aviation Administration Control Tower at Keahole Airport was dedicated.

1971 (May)

The Solari centralized system of visual presentation of arrival and departure data was inaugurated at HNL.  The system is operated by the State and was the first such centralized system in the world. It cost $1.26 million.

1971 (6 May)

Governor John Burns accepted the Federal Aviation Administration’s Beautification Award for Keahole Airport.

1972 (16 May)

Improvements at HNL continued in Fiscal Year 1972 on the Diamond Head and Ewa Gull Wings and associated gates. The $12.5 million, three-level, 360,000 square foot Ewa Ticket Lobby Extension was dedicated on May 16, 1972.

1972 (May)

In 1971-1972, the Federal Aviation Administration inaugurated its Certification Program. This was a program based on Federal law, requiring all airport operators to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards of operation in order to gain and retain operating certificates for their airports. The standards were published and enforced by inspections.  Failure to qualify for or to retain an operating certificate meant that scheduled airlines could not use the offending airport.

Due to a rash of aircraft hijackings, the FAA also promulgated and enforced a security program.  The security program required a search of all persons and their baggage before boarding scheduled air carriers.  It required the HDOT Airports Division to construct fencing, lighting and “sterile” areas within its terminals and to provide armed deputized law enforcement officers to stand by while additional security personnel from the airline performed searches of passengers and baggage.

The impact of these programs on the State was more far reaching than the necessity of establishing approved standards and to attain these standards by increased construction and operational costs. These programs transferred decision-making on safety and security measures from the State to the Federal Government.  Failure to comply meant losing the services of scheduled airlines.  The construction, operations and administrative costs of these programs was substantial, notwithstanding Federal aid, and these expenses were mandatory.

1971 (4 Aug)

The first two O-2B aircraft to be assigned to Hickam AFB arrived, with two more added a month later. The O-2Bs replaced the C-47 Skytrains and U-3A Cessna aircraft which had been used for proficiency flying.


Concession fees surpassed aviation fuel taxes as the largest source of airport revenues.


The $130 million expansion program for the Jumbo Jet Age was over the hump. A Flight Information Display System was initiated at HNL and a third large aircraft gate was completed in the Ewa Gull Wing, bringing to five the number of B747 gates in service. Master planners were estimating the need for as many as 13 large aircraft gates by 1985.


The Reef Runway was being planned for improvement in aviation safety, operational efficiency, reduction of noise and improvement of the circulation of Keehi Lagoon waters. It was estimated to cost $35 million with half to be done by FAA grants. Navy land at Ahua Point would have to be acquired.

1972 (July)

Improvements were made to the Terminal at Molokai Airport.

1972 (16 Aug)

A significant improvement was effected at Kahului Airport by apron rehabilitation and further lighting at a cost of $1.8 million.

1972 (16 Aug)

Additions and alterations to the passenger terminal at Waimea-Kohala Airport were completed.

1972 (30 Aug)

President and Mrs. Richard Nixon arrived at Hickam AFB for a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.

1972 (16 Nov)

New runway and taxiway lights were installed at Lanai Airport.


3,900 new parking stalls were completed at HNL.

1972 (1 Dec)

The USO established a service member’s lounge at HNL.

1973 (8 Jan)

Construction of a $1.6 million aircraft parking apron in the Hickam flight line was completed.  Designed for medium load, the new apron included 10 multiple use parking spots for Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, and Lockheed C-141 Starlighter aircraft.

1973 (Feb)

The FAA instituted a new security program which required the air carriers to provide law enforcement officers at each position where pre-board screening of airline passengers was conducted.

1973 (28 Feb)

The $46 million contract for the Reef Runway was executed on February 28, 1973 but legal challenges over the adequacy of the FAA’s first major Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) occurred. Life of the Land, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society and Friends of the Earth had sued in 1972 over impacts to birds and the reef. The 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco issued a temporary injunction against award of the contract. Local Judge Martin Pence eventually ruled that the ElS was adequate and allowed the bids to be opened. The bids proved too high and additional funding had to be acquired.

The Navy provided 527 acres of land for the project with the Air Force giving up 135 acres and the Army giving up 95 acres. The project was intended to resolve most of the air traffic, noise and safety problems of HNL by shifting overseas commercial and military jet take-off operations more than a mile to seaward.

The new runway was intended to increase HNL’s capacity from 70 to 110 operations per hour. The design length was 12,500 feet.

Construction on the Reef Runway took place from May 7, 1973 to October 1977.  The project created more than 1,000 acres of land from 19 million cubic yards of dredged coral and cost $80 million. The work involved a 12,000 foot runway 200 feet wide, three major taxiways, a taxiway bridge designed for an aircraft which would weigh 1.5 million pounds, bird habitat mitigation, compensation for relocated Naval recreation facilities and a lease from the Air Force.

Fifty million dollars of the cost was provided by FAA grants and the remainder was financed by General Obligation Bonds. Airport Revenue Bonds were not used because the airlines refused to support the project.

1973 (April)

A new Military Airlift Command Terminal was opened at Hickam AFB on Taxiway 7, across the flight line from Base Operations.

1973 (14 May)

The three-level International Arrivals Terminal was dedicated.  It provided space at no cost to all U.S. Border Agency personnel.  Space was also provided for processing arrivals from foreign nations through Immigration, Customs, Public Health and Agriculture requirements.

1973 (12 June)

Work on the Reef Runway was halted by an injunction secured by conservationists.   Work was later resumed when the injunction was lifted.


Hawaiian Airlines abandoned its Convair turboprop aircraft so Hana, Maui could only be served by the commuter carrier Royal Hawaiian Air Service.


Ford Island and Dillingham Air Force Base were leased by the HDOT Airports Division Oahu District but the establishment of a State general aviation airport on Oahu was still a much-desired goal. The Department of Defense decided to study the State proposal to lease or acquire Bellows Field.

1974 (2 Jan)

Personnel of the Hawaii Protective Association, Ltd. replaced the “off duty” police who were providing security service required by the FAA.

1974 (16 May)

Vice President Gerald Ford arrived at Hickam AFB.

1974 (July)

Ground was broken for the new terminal at General Lyman Field.

1974 (19 Aug)

The old MAC terminal, located between Hangar Avenue and the flight line at Hickam AFB, was demolished.  Constructed in 1945 at a cost of $152,095, it was beyond economical repair.


Perimeter and security fencing projects were underway at General Lyman Field, Waimea-Kohala, Kahului, Molokai and Lihue Airports to meet FAA certification requirements.

1975 (27 Feb)

Dillingham AFB was transferred from Hickam’s real property account to the Department of the Army.

1975 (25 July)

Apollo Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford, Vance D. Brand and Donald K. Slayton, arrived at Pearl Harbor aboard the aircraft carrier USS New Orleans following successful completion for the Apollo/Soyuz Test Project.

1975 (Aug)

Lighting improvements at Upolu Airport were completed.  Included in the project were a radio-controlled lighting system allowing the pilot to turn on runway lights by transmission on the aircraft radio.

1975 (10 Oct)

Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako of Japan arrived at HNL and departed from Hickam AFB for Japan on October 13, 1975.

1975 (31 Oct)

The HANG received its first F-4C Phantom at Hickam AFB.

1975 (7 Dec)

President Gerald R. Ford arrived at Hickam AFB from the Orient.


Phase I of the construction of a new passenger terminal at General Lyman Field was completed and Phase II began.

1976 (30 April)

The new passenger terminal at General Lyman Field, equipped with flight information displays, signs and new furniture, was dedicated.  The old terminal remained in service to enhance the capacity of the field.

1976 (31 Oct)

The State closed Lagoon Drive permanently because of the Reef Runway construction and placed a fence across the road, blocking the Hickam gate which had been used in the past to gain access to the beach and fishing areas on Hickam.


A new general aviation airport opened at Princeville, Kauai.

1976 (31 Dec)

HNL handled 11.3 million passengers, a seven percent increase over the previous year.


A noise monitoring system was placed in and around HNL. Contracts were active for baggage claim and tenant area construction and for Gate 29 offices. Airports Division moved from the sixth and seventh floors of the Administration Building (342) to the mezzanine floors of Gates 29 and 30.

1977 (14 Oct)

The Reef Runway was dedicated by the State, with both a military and a commercial aircraft taking off from the new facility.  The Reef Runway, 8R/26L is located 6,700 feet south and parallel to Runway 8L/26R on a fringing coral reef.  The Reef Runway structure is 16,100 feet by 2,050 feet with the runway proper 12,000 feet by 200 feet.  More than 1,000 acres of new land were created by the dredging of over 19 million cubic yards of material.  All dredged fill was placed in 1 to 30 feet of water.  The circulation channels were dredged to -45 feet.  The project cost was $71.55 million.


Construction continued in 1977 on the Ewa and Diamond Head Concourses.

1978 (17 April)

Hickam’s main gate was relocated by the State as part of its freeway construction project.

1978 (30 April)

Vice President Walter F. Mondale arrived at Hickam AFB.

1978 (13 July)

The new air traffic control tower at Molokai Airport was dedicated by the FAA.

1978 (14 July)

Dedication of a new 2,900-square foot holding wing at the Interisland Terminal at HNL.

1978 (15 Aug)

Construction began on upgrading the Central Concourse at HNL so that Gates 14 through 23 would be able to take wide-bodied aircraft.

1978 (22 Sept)

A new fire station was dedicated at Lihue Airport.

1978 (24 Oct)

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 was passed by Congress.  It allowed entry of new carriers into the Hawaiian market, resulting in a concentration of airlines at busier airports and a reduction in air fare.


The Reef Runway at HNL received three awards:

The 1978 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Nominee, American Society of Civil Engineers;
One of the Ten Outstanding Engineering Achievements in the United States in 1977, National Society of Professional Engineers;
The Aviation Environment Award, Federal Aviation Administration.  The last award was only the second time it had been presented.

1979 (18 March)

The Space Shuttle advance team arrived for discussions in connection with designation of Hickam AFB as an alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle.

1979 (30 June)

President Carter arrived at Barbers Point AFB and helicoptered to Hickam AFB.

1979 (4 July)

Due to deregulation, a concentration of airlines occurred at busier airports with a corresponding reduction in air fares.  American, Braniff, Continental, Delta, Eastern, Hawaiian, National, Ozark, PSA, Trans-Carib Air, Trans-International, Western and World Airlines received clearance to fly to Hawaii.

1979 (22 Oct)

The United Public Workers went on strike. Hawaii airports were kept open throughout the strike.

1979 (2 Nov)

The FAA opened a new 105-foot high Traffic Control Tower at General Lyman Field.

1979 (11 Nov)

Hawaiian Airlines celebrated 50 years of accident-free air-passenger service.

1979 (14 Dec)

Dedication ceremonies were held for Maui District’s new maintenance building and baseyard.