As Hawaii is an Island, the only ways to reach it are by boat or by plane! Many islands, therefore, have multiple airports, both major and regional. The major Hawaii airports generally have the following advantages:
• They provide more flights and airlines, making it easier for travelers to find a flight that fits their schedule
• They have more rental cars
• They are less than an hour’s drive from the major resorts and hotels
• They can accommodate bigger and more comfortable planes
Hawaii has five major airports: Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Kahului Airport, Lihue Airport, Kona International Airport, and Hilo International Airport.
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
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Also known as the Honolulu International Airport, the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is the biggest airport in Hawaii. Most visitors to Hawaii will land at this airport, and the ones going to another island will take a connecting flight to that island.
The Honolulu International Airport is one of the oldest airports in Hawaii. It began life in 1927 as the John Rodgers Airport. It was operated by the Navy during World War II and returned to civilian control in 1946. It was eventually named after Senator Daniel Inouye (1924 – 2012), who represented Hawaii for nearly 50 years.
The Honolulu Airport is one of the busiest airports in the US; it serves over 21 million passengers a year, and that number is growing. It is the main hub of Hawaiian Airlines, which is the biggest airline based in Hawaii. The airport hosts many international and US airlines and provides direct flights to Asia, North America, and the Pacific Rim. It has four paved runways, plus two offshore runways for seaplanes.
Kahului Airport (OGG)
Kahului Airport is an international airport that is Maui’s major airport. It is three miles east of Kahului, and it is the second-busiest airport in Hawaii. It has a paved helipad and two paved runways. The airport has undergone expansion and upgrades in recent years. For example, the airport is currently constructing a new facility for rental cars that will be closer to the terminal. In addition to flights between the islands, the Kahului Airport provides flights to Canada and the US mainland, and there are plans to start offering flights to and from Japan.
Hana Airport (HNM)
Hana Airport is a small regional airport about three miles northwest of the town Hana. It only provides transportation between the islands. While Hana is fairly isolated, visitors will go there to explore such attractions as Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the biggest temple on Maui and one of the most important archeological sites anywhere in the islands.
Lihue Airport (LIH)
Lihue Airport, which is named after the nearby town, is a state-owned public use airport. While Lihue Airport is not considered a major hub, it does work with some airlines from the US mainland, plus a Canadian airline called WestJet. The airport’s lobby was expanded and refurbished in 2015. The new lobby boasts a stage where local singers perform; it also has a gallery that displays local art and cultural exhibits.
Big Island Airports
Kona International Airport (KOA)
More formally known as Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole, the Kona International Airport is on the western side of the Big Island. In January 2017, it was given its current name to honor the astronaut Ellison Onizuka, a native of Hawaii who had perished in the Challenger explosion in 1986. He had been the first Asian-American to make it into space.
It is the newest of the major Hawaii airports, for it opened in 1970. Back then, it was called the Ke-āhole Airport, after a native fish. Kona International is probably the only airport in the world to have a runway built in lava fields.
After expanding in the 1990s, it became an international airport. It serves both cargo and passenger flights. Its airlines provide direct flights to and from Canada, Japan, and the continental US.
Hilo International Airport (ITO)
The Hilo International Airport is located on the Big Island’s eastern side. It is the smallest of Hawaii’s five major airports. Until 2011, it was the only major airport that did not offer non-stop flights to the continental United States. Even now, it has only two airlines: Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines. Consequently, most visitors taking connecting flights to and from the Honolulu airport.
Lanai Airport (LNY)
Located near Lanai City, the Lanai Airport is the only airport on the island Lanai. The one airline is ‘Ohana by Hawaiian. There are no direct flights from the continental United States, so visitors will have to take flights from either the Honolulu or Kahului airport to visit Lanai.
Molokai Airport (MKK)
The Molokai Airport, also known as Hoolehua Airport, is the island Molokai’s major airport. It has only Hawaiian airlines like Mokulele Airlines. Consequently, there are no direct flights from the continental United States, so passengers who want to visit Molokai will have to catch a connecting flight at the Honolulu airport.
Like the Honolulu Airport, the Molokai Airport was established in 1927. It has two paved runways that serve commercial and military planes. It provides connecting flights to the Kalaupapa Airport.
Kalaupapa Airport (LUP)
Kalaupapa Airport is a regional public use airport that provides transportation to the Kalaupapa National Historic Park, an extremely isolated place that was once a leper colony. It has a museum and other exhibits dedicated to the colony’s history. It is also home to many species of birds, fish, and marine invertebrates, some of which are not found anywhere else.