HONOLULU (KHON2) — Southwest Airlines canceled its flights to Hilo on Monday following a volcanic ash advisory from Mauna Loa’s eruption; these schedule adjustments also caused delays for other airline routes.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority Public Affairs Officer, Ilihia Gionson was on board a plane to Kona that experienced those delays.
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Gionson said, “On a flight from Honolulu to Kona, we held the plane for some folks who were trying to get to Hilo.”
The lava flow is not posing any threats to Hawaii County communities, Gov. David Ige said there is no reason for anyone to change their travel plans to the Big Island at this time.
Ige said, “No one should be making any changes to visitors trying to or have scheduled visits to the islands at this point in time.”
The HTA is reminding visitors to stay on top of any new safety information coming from county and state emergency agencies. Gionson said popular tourist destinations such as the Kohala Coast, Kona and Hilo are not in the downward path of the lava flow.
“For those visitors choosing to stay at short-term vacation rentals outside of resort areas, highly recommend they check with their hosts to get a better understanding of where on the island they are and their hosts kind of appraisal of the ability to host it this time,” Gionson said. “Certainly check with your airlines for any disruptions.”
Gionson said some residents may be under pressure due to the volcano’s eruption, so they ask to be mindful of others.
He said, “It’s a very different experience than the residents, many of whom, you know, are under a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, you know. Where is this flow going to go?”
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Airlines will continue to update their flight schedules as Mauna Loa’s activity continues, make sure to check directly with the airlines for any possible disruptions.