A major change is coming to make Honolulu International Airport safer and more secure.
Starting Friday night, security guards and law enforcement officers will be closing lobbies 4 through 8 on the second floor, tour group areas and baggage claims E through H from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. daily.
The state Department of Transportation says it’s received complaints from workers and visitors about the people who stay there overnight.
Workers KHON2 spoke with say many of those loitering are homeless and come back at night to sleep.
“We have quite a few of them roaming around. Some of them see us, make money. They also ask us for tips. Like money, dollar here and there,” said VIP Transportation worker Brennen Park.
“I see them wiping down themselves, when it’s all clear though. They wait for the bathroom to be clear and I guess they use it to clean themselves,” said Roberts Hawaii employee Aubrey Huerbana.
The DOT says safety and security of workers and passengers is its number one priority.
“We were told at the DOT that some people were getting concerned with the amount of people that are staying here overnight. The airport certainly is a secured facility and we need to keep it that way,” said spokesman Tim Sakahara.
So how will it all work? Security guards will walk through the restricted areas, looking for loiterers. Anyone without a legitimate reason to be at the airport will be asked to leave. If they don’t, they will be issued a citation and could be arrested.
“They (have to) have a legitimate reason to be at the airport, so for the people like that, we’ll take them to a vetting room, essentially an area where the security guards can check all their documentation,” Sakahara said.
Some airport workers wonder if it will help.
“I don’t think it’s really going to help. They’ll probably find a spot near the outside area parking lot. Maybe upstairs. But baggage claim, it’ll help a lot because then maybe the tourists wouldn’t see them and stuff,” Huerbana said.
“I personally don’t have a problem with them. If the airport feels it’s for the safety, I could see where they’re coming from, because you never know, because there are a lot of people up there at night,” said airport worker Sean Asuncion.
“I think it would help little bit. I’m not sure where the homeless would go, but it would help making this place look a little bit more better,” Park said.
If passengers arrive or depart after 10 p.m., officers will reopen the lobbies and baggage claims as needed.