HONOLULU (KHON2) — On Thursday, Sept 1. high travel volumes were the new normal at Kahului airport. according to officials.
“Combined with local travelers from the community, TSA is screening more travelers at this airport than it did prior to the pandemic,” said Acting Federal Security Director for the Pacific Islands Scot Thaxton.
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The Hawaii Department of Transportation and TSA came together to improve efficiency.
Two new scanners have been installed to screen carry on luggage quickly.
“This extra visibility allows security officers to resolve potential security threats on screen while reducing the number of bag checks when a carry on is screened through one of these scanners, passengers can leave everything in their bag, laptops, computers, everything in,” explained Thaxton. “The machine takes care of itself on top of our officers.”
When you approach the TSA check in line you just need an ID, no boarding pass.
“We scan the photo ID you no longer need a boarding pass when we’re using these machines and it takes it off of a live database for a 24 hour period,” Thaxton. “It’s a huge enhancement for the community and the traveling public and our identity.”
The goal is to cut wait times down for passengers without compromising public safety. And there’s a new addition to airport staff.
Four passenger screening canines are trained to sniff out potential explosive scents.
“If someone is moving throughout the airport the dogs are trained to pinpoint the source of that odor,” explained Lorie Dankers, TSA spokeswoman. “And they give a signal to their handler that they have detected something that needs to be followed up on.”
As for the long lines outside the tsa security area, I’m told with the summer rush slowing down the lines don’t stretch out to here as often. But the dot has installed these awnings on the curbside. This portion will be permanent, while this section is temporary.
“County of Maui, the mayor’s office supported us and lending us one of the tents that you’ll see out on the streets and that will get us through this summer,” said Maui Airport District Manager Marvin Moniz.
The DOT said while these short term fixes help, long term solutions are in the works.
“We’re in early design currently to add an additional five lanes on the south end of the terminal and what that additional lanes would do it would create a separation for passengers traveling on the north end for flight and south end terminal,” Moniz said.
And even with the improvements DOT said arriving early is still your best bet.
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The busiest times are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.