HONOLULU — With the groundbreaking for a new Aloha Air Cargo facility, the state Department of Transportation today celebrated the start of approximately $750 million in improvement projects for the Honolulu International Airport, as part of the statewide Hawaii Airports Modernization Program.

The privately funded $12 million Aloha Air Cargo facility is a key component in upgrades and improvements at the Honolulu Airport and highlights the importance of public/private partnerships that benefit the people of Hawaii.  The new facility will consolidate cargo operations, support offices and customer service operations into a single location off of Elliott Street.  Construction on the state’s projects in this area is expected to begin next month.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said: Hawaii is the anchor of the Asia Pacific region and the Honolulu International Airport should reflect our reputation as a world class destination.  The revitalization of our airports is necessary and represents a historic investment to address the growing demands from visitor, resident and business travelers in a manner worthy of the Aloha State.”

While the improvements will include millions of dollars in runway and taxiway improvements, the main features that the public will enjoy will be a new commuter terminal, the new mauka concourse, and a consolidated rental car facility.  The program also includes many support projects, such as a new employee parking lot, maintenance hangars, and roadway improvements.

State Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto said: “To facilitate such a massive project with minimal disruptions to the public, support projects must be completed first.  For example, to make way for widened taxiways for the mauka concourse, several buildings and airplane parking areas will be demolished.”

Late this summer, construction is anticipated to begin on the new commuter terminal that will be located on the Diamond Head side of the airport.  This project needs to be completed before the current commuter terminal can be demolished to make way for the mauka concourse.

Airports Division Deputy Director Ford Fuchigami said: “The Aloha Air Cargo facility is the first step in our larger modernization plan for the Honolulu International Airport, which will accommodate the increasing volume of air traffic and meet heightened security requirements.”

Notices of changes to traffic patterns and parking will be sent out in future news releases and will be posted on the state DOT website at hidot.hawaii.gov as well as the Hawaii Airports Modernization Program website at hawaiiairportsmodernization.com.

For media inquiries, please contact state DOT Public Information Officer Caroline Sluyter at (808) 587-2160.