Honolulu International Airport
Located on the island of Oahu and just 10 miles from famous Waikiki, the Honolulu International Airport is a gateway for flights to other islands within the Hawaiian island chain as well as the U.S. mainland and various international cities in Asia and Canada. Built in 1927, the airport was originally called the John Rodgers Airport, after a famous World War I naval aviator. It was the first airport built to service the island chain of Hawaii.
History of the Airport
During World War II, the United States Navy requisitioned the airport for military use and only allowed civilian flights in and out of the airport during daylight hours. After the war ended, the Navy returned the airport to civilian use, having upgraded it by adding a control tower, seven runways, a terminal, and several thousand acres of land to the site, making it one of the largest airports in the United States at the time.
In 1947, the airport was renamed Honolulu Airport; the “International” designation was not added until 1951, when the airport became a convenient refueling point for transpacific flights originating in Asia or North America. Australian airline Quantas began to schedule all of its flights to stop in Honolulu on their way to California in 1959, becoming the first jet service carrier to Hawaii. The airport became so popular that it was considered the third most active airport in America and its 13,000-foot runway the longest on Earth.
Honolulu Airport Operations
The terminal that had served the airport since World War II was replaced in 1962. Although it has been refurbished and expanded several times over the years, it is still the building in use today. With the advent of fuel-efficient aircraft capable of sustaining a long transpacific journey, Honolulu is no longer a necessary destination for airlines. While the airport has seen a decline in refueling traffic over the last few decades, the traffic of domestic flights has remained strong owing to Hawaii’s allure as a tropical paradise destination for tourists.
The Honolulu International Airport has four runways, which it shares with a nearby air force base. The dramatic Reef Runway is built in the waters of Mamala Bay and features stunning views of Honolulu and the open ocean. There are three terminals in the airport, with 50 percent of airline traffic coming from just three major U.S. cities: San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles.
The airport features a fare-free way to travel from terminal to terminal called the Wiki-Wiki Shuttle, from the Hawaiian world for “quick.” Introduced in 1970 as an interim measure to ferry passengers to various points around the airport, it was never intended to be a permanent solution. Now, four decades later, the airport is planning to phase out the Wiki-Wiki buses by seeking to implement new forms of convenient transportation, such as air-conditioned moving walkways in the international terminal. These buses proved to be an inspirational namesake for the Internet information pages known as “Wiki” guides, as developers traveled to Honolulu and were quite familiar with the iconic buses.
The state of Hawaii plans to invest a total of $2.3 billion in upgrading and modernizing the facilities in all of its airports, including the Honolulu International Airport. Initiated in 2006, the program will last for a decade and address security upgrades, food concessions and air conditioning as well as adding several new buses to the Wiki-Wiki shuttle fleet. The parking capacity of the airport was expanded from 4,000 parking slots to over 6,000 with the addition of a parking garage across the street from the terminal for international arrivals.
Airlines Serving Honolulu Airport
Hawaiian Airlines is the largest airline in the state of Hawaii, and it is one of the most prominent carriers to operate from Honolulu International Airport. In fact, the airline is one of six that use the airport as a hub for operations. Passengers can use Hawaiian Airlines to fly to a number of destinations within the Hawaiian Islands, but they can also use the carrier to reach destinations in the U.S. mainland and Canada, as well as destinations in Australia and East Asia. Hawaiian Airlines passengers flying to American destinations such as Las Vegas or Seattle use Lobby 2 at the Honolulu Airport, while passengers planning to travel to international destinations like Auckland or Papeete use Lobby 3.
Go! Airlines is another carrier that uses Honolulu International Airport as a hub. The airline offers flights to destinations within the Hawaiian Islands including Hilo, Kahului, and Lihue. These flights are operated by Mesa Airlines.
Island Air and Mokulele Airlines are two additional Hawaiian carriers that use Honolulu International Airport as a hub. Both airlines serve passengers traveling to other destinations within the Hawaiian island chain. Island Air offers flights to Kahului, Kapalua, Lana’i, Lihue, and Moloka’i, while Mokulele provides flights to Kapalua, Lana’i and Moloka’i. Both airlines use Lobby 1.
United Airlines has a strong presence at Honolulu International Airport. The airline, which uses Lobby 8, offers direct flights to a number of domestic and international destinations. These include Chicago, Denver, Guam, Los Angeles, Majuro, Newark, Tokyo, and San Francisco.
Delta Airlines is a major U.S. carrier that offers a number of flights from Honolulu. Passengers can use the airline to reach Atlanta, Georgia, which is the airline’s home city, and they can also fly to domestic destinations such as Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle/Tacoma. International destinations served by Delta from Honolulu include Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka.
Passengers who wish to fly from the 50th U.S. state to the 49th state often choose to fly using Alaska Airlines. Passengers can use the airline to fly from Honolulu to Anchorage, which is the largest city in Alaska. Passengers can also use Alaska Airlines for flights to mainland cities such as Bellingham, Oakland, San Diego, and Seattle/Tacoma.
Allegiant Air is one of the most popular low-cost air carriers in the United States, and passengers can use the airline to reach a wide range of domestic destinations from Honolulu. These destinations include Bellingham, Eugene, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Santa Maria, and Stockton. Allegiant Air operates from Lobby 6 at Honolulu International Airport.