Goals of the Program

The multi-year Hawaii Airports Modernization Program will reposition our aging airports to accommodate the increasing volume of air traffic, both commercial and private, efficiently meet heightened security requirements, and improve the passenger experience.

Along with functionality and operational efficiency, the Hawaii Airports Modernization Program also seeks to introduce, maintain and enhance environmental, social and cultural elements that can set Hawaii’s airports apart from facilities elsewhere, and to design projects to be environmentally sustainable. For example, Kona International Airport at Ke`ahole will be the first airport in the world to be cooled by deep ocean water. Once the system is proven, it will be added to other state airports.

Modernization projects are improving operational efficiency, security and passenger convenience across the system. Subsequent work will add capacity to airports to meet projected demand. The program was developed by the State of Hawaii in close consultation with the Airlines Committee of Hawaii, and with the generous input from the community, will ultimately reflect a distinctly “Hawaiian sense of place.”

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport – Oahu

As part of the larger statewide Hawaii Airports Modernization Program, the new facilities and improvements at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) consist of a multi-year effort to transform HNL into a distinctive, functional airport, worthy of a first class visitor destination and to meet the growing needs of residents and visitors alike.

The major components of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Modernization Program are: 


Kahului Airport – Maui

Kahului Airport is our second busiest airport, accommodating about 17% of the state’s air traffic. The Modernization Program at Kahului focuses on major infrastructure improvements, including expanding capacity for passenger comfort and ease of travel, a Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC) to centralize traveler’s car rental needs, and a new airport access road along with taxiway and runway repairs.  Upgrades inside the terminal include restroom renovations and a reroofing project.

Kona International Airport – Hawaii

Kona International Airport now handles about 9% of air traffic in Hawaii, with direct flights from the mainland and Canada.  However, Kona Airport was originally designed primarily for inter-island operations. Therefore, major improvements are needed to accommodate the current and future mix of domestic, overseas, international, inter-island, commuter and general aviation activities. 

Current projects include the Kona Terminal Modernization Program which will relocate the Onizuka Space Center and consolidate the check-point to a central location which will connect the north and south terminals.

Hilo International Airport – Hawaii

Hilo generally has adequate airfield and terminal capacity to accommodate forecast demands and needs, but a number of maintenance and improvement projects are needed. When completed, Hilo International Airport will be modernized in terms of having better energy efficient equipment and overall passenger comfort experience. 

The modernization effort at Hilo International Airport also includes a new 64,000 square foot cargo facility that will help to streamline cargo and freight operations. 

Lihue Airport – Kauai

Lihue Airport continues to retain its neighbor island charm evoking a sense of Hawaii's past even as capacity steadily increases. State DOT is working on upgrading the Lihue Airport security system.  Future plans include a consolidated rental car facility. 

Small Airports

We are moving ahead with modernization of all our major airports. But we are not neglecting our smaller airports, either. Together, they serve about 1.5% of the air traffic in the state.

Molokai Airport has two projects in design:

  • The first will provide airfield improvements to correct grading and drainage deficiencies.
  • The second project will construct a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Station to replace the current, temporary facility.
  • We are also building a new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Station at Kalaupapa airport on Molokai.


Lanai Airport: 

  • A new general aviation apron was dedicated in October 2009. It will be used for parking private aircraft and was funded by the FAA and Castle & Cooke.
  • A $5 million Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Station was completed in 2012 that meets current FAA Standards and will serve the community’s needs for years in the future.


A number of projects were completed at Waimea-Kohala:

  • Repaired and upgraded the Automated Weather Observing System, which measures, collects and distributes weather data to meteorologists, pilots and flight dispatchers to facilitate takeoffs and landings at the airport.
  • Renovated the airport’s 30-year-old lighting system. 


The remote Upolu Airport is located at the north end of the Island of Hawaii.

  • At Upolu – airfield runway repairs have been completed following the 2006 earthquake.