Kahului Airport capacity concerns increase ahead of loosened travel restrictions for Hawaii

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Long lines at the Kahului Airport are causing some frustration for travelers.

“We stood in line for an hour and 20 minutes, barely making it to our flight before taking off,” said Jannelle Fukuoka, a Maui resident recently traveling from Kahului Airport. “Luckily they held the gates open at Hawaiian Air because I think many other passengers were stuck in the TSA line.”

Nearly 8,500 visitors touched down at the Kahului Airport on Monday. With travel restrictions loosening on Thursday, some are expecting the long waits to get even worse.

“It was a pretty gnarly experience to say the least, because I’ve never seen airport that packed before,” said Trisha Gives, an Oahu resident who recently traveled from Kahului Airport.

Mayor Michael Victorino is aware of the capacity concerns at the airport. He also says there are talks of Kahului Airport expanding.

“So there are more changes coming,” said Michael Victorino, mayor of Maui County. “I will be meeting with them very soon to see what they’re discussing and what kinds of plans they have.”

Hawaiian Airlines says it is also aware of constraints at Kahului Airport and regularly discusses with the state and TSA on solutions to improve passenger flow.

Meanwhile, the Hawaii Department of Transportation says flights schedules and gate assignments have been made through July, and Kahului Airport has the capacity to handle the schedule traffic.

Travelers want change as tourism picks up again.

“There’s just so much travelers coming in at one time of the day,” said Fukuoka “I think it’s because all the mainland flights going in and mixed in with interisland at the Kahului Airport, which I feel like we should have it separated.”

Mayor Victorino previously proposed limiting flights to Kahului Airport, but Gov. Ige says it’s illegal to limit interstate travel.

The HDOT will continue to work with Maui County to manage gate and other operations.

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