Honolulu Airport Runway Repairs

Emergency Repairs/Flight Diversions At HNL Due to Runway Spalling

Today, without prior notice, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) said it will divert all aircraft to other runways arriving and departing at Honolulu International Airport (HNL). That as a result of spalling discovered on Runway 8L. Traffic will be diverted to Runway 26L. Plans call for that problem to be ongoing through December 8, although we suspect it could be longer.

HDOT said, “The other three runways at HNL will remain open but with diminished capacity during peak hours. HDOT is advising that increased use of Runway 26L may lead to interisland flight delays.”

HDOT said that it “is coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration and interisland carriers to minimize potential flight schedule disruptions associated with this work.”

Travelers are being advised that at least “some interisland flights may be delayed due to the runway closure,” although the full extent of the issues will become clear as this matter unfolds.

What caused the latest runway problem at HNL?

Honolulu Runway 8L just endured a long and exhausting repair that went on from the fall of 2022 through May of 2023.

Regarding that repair, HDOT said at the time, “Reconstruction of Runway 8L, the primary runway for arriving aircraft, began in October 2022. The project involved construction of a 1,000 lineal-foot stretch of Portland cement concrete at the threshold of the runway, joined with 7,500 lineal feet of polymer-modified asphalt.”

Since the concrete may well be new, it isn’t clear what caused the spalling to suddenly occur. Without providing further information, HDOT said only, “The need for remediation work on 18 concrete panels within the touchdown area was found where spalling occurred on Runway 8L. The remediation will involve the removal and reconstruction of 18 panels at no cost to the state. The removal work can be done in the current wet weather, but more time may be needed for concrete curing and other construction activities.”

Spalling on concrete airport runways refers to the deterioration or breaking away of concrete surfaces into small pieces or fragments. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including exposure to chemicals, aging, infiltration by moisture, especially with inadequate drainage, and the impact of heavy loads.

Spalling on airport runways is also concerning since it can lead to foreign object debris. It’s hard to imagine how a runway that received a 100 million dollar repair has concert spalling six months later.

Lead photo of HNL airport runway 8L during 2022 repairs.

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11 thoughts on “Emergency Repairs/Flight Diversions At HNL Due to Runway Spalling”

  1. Last year’s everlasting inconvenience at the Oahu airport was caused by runway 8L repair, now they assure us that it won’t cost the taxpayers. The initial project didn’t cost us in the first place as it was done with federal funds, so telling us no Hawaiian money is involved is insulting. Flying in general is stressful, but Hawaii brings you additional stress with Aloha and for no other reason but bad workmanship and supervision. If there was an award for inept infrastructure management, Hawaii would win the gold walking away.

  2. Incompetence in work on the runway? Perhaps corruption by someone substituting low quality materials instead of what was specified in the bid process? Either way, there is no excuse.

  3. The airports concrete building is also falling apart after all the rain. Rebars are exposed and large chunks came crashing down near terminal 2 C Gates. Thankfully no one was injured.

  4. Its not hard to imagine why spalling is occurring on a 6 month old runway. Hawaii Department of Transportation! Still looking for something the state does well!

  5. With the runway issue there should be more direct flights to Kona or Maui first then on to Honolulu to spread out traffic.
    Yes the pour samples should prove something- unless Oh that’s good enough

  6. Must have been poured right near Pau Hana time or right after noon Kau Kau when da workers had gotsda plate lunch sleepies (Lord they always do it me)…

    Best Regards

  7. Concrete spalling on a brand new poured runway!? How about poorly mixed, blended, and/or poured concrete for starters. There should be lots of documentation from the periodic testing of the concrete that was being poured so start right there. I mean there was testing being done wasn’t there?

  8. Does Hawaii have a Department of Transportation? If so… this is not making them look good.

    Time to start looking for the graft and kickbacks I suppose.

    1. And Ed Sniffen (Dept. of Transportation director) will be on the news most every night bloviating about something irrelevant to providing good roads and other infrastructure! Gross incompetence, and that runway was months behind schedule!

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