Over the next decade, plans indicate it’s going to be a pretty
picture for Hawaii’s airports. Streamlined security screening,
enhanced terminal-to-terminal transportation and additional parking
spaces are part of a $2.3 billion plan to update five airports
across the State of Hawaii over the next 12 years.
Recently detailed by Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, the airport
improvements are a much-welcomed and much-needed step for the
state. Plans have been sidelined twice due to eco-nomic downturns
resulting from the first Gulf War, followed by the Sept. 11
With the delays, other needs have added to airport wear and
tear. Heightened security, increased passenger loads and day-to-day
operations have made improvement needs more crucial especially with
increased transpacific flights traveling directly to Neighbor
Island airports which were not designed to accommodate larger
“Airports in general have and do need constant care, but Hawaii
airports haven’t been getting much care recently, so it’s very
important,” said Rex Johnson, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
“The airport is the first impression and the last impression. From
a tourism standpoint, having a nice airport is very important.”
At the top of the ticket is a $1.9 billion upgrade at Honolulu
International Airport. The state’s largest air travel facility will
see a replacement of its 30-year-old airline gates with modern
alternatives. Wiki Wiki buses will also be replaced and moving
sidewalks will be added. The long-range plan, however, is to create
a people-mover rail system.
To ease congestion in ticket lobbies, new in-line
explosive-detection systems will be added behind ticket counters in
Honolulu, as well as Kahului on Maui, Lihue on Kauai, and both Kona
and Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.