Lihue Airport Kauai

Help Plan Kauai Airport’s Future | 4.5 M Passengers Anticipated

On Thursday, July 28, at 8 AM Hawaii time, you can take part in planning the future of Lihue (LIH) Airport on Kauai. It’s easy to sign up here and the public is welcome.

Planning for Kauai airport modernization.

Sponsored by the Lihue Business Association, the webinar will address upcoming planned changes for the 9-gate airport. This year the state approved $6.7 million for ticket lobby and gate area improvements. But what about adding more gates with increased traffic? That’s part of the discussion for this meeting.

The airport plan goes back nearly 40 years and is past due for updating. Currently, there’s a massive shortage of parking, limited passenger areas, and poor air conditioning. When delays occur, this gets even worse since there’s nowhere to accommodate travelers. Also, gates back get backed up, with planes having to wait on the tarmac for prolonged durations.

The proposal from the state DOT was to expand the number of gates by three. That, however, has received widespread community pushback. It is due mainly to the fear that more gates will mean more flights resulting in more visitors that the island’s deficient infrastructure is incapable of handling.

The state is forecasting 4.5 million annual Kauai passengers.LihueAirport


At the upcoming webinar, we’ll all learn about this essential plan and the DOT vision for accommodating the enormous visitor load. There will be time allotted for your questions and answers.

We could not find recent state data on Lihue passenger count, but we believe it to be approximately 3 million. That has increased at least tenfold in the past 50 years. But, the island has done little to keep up its infrastructure to accommodate that growth. It is unclear how Kauai airport and the island can increase their capacity to accommodate additional tourism.

The speaker will be Ross Higashi, Deputy Director, Airports Division, Hawaii Department of Transportation. Accompanying him will be Craig Davis, Kauai Airports District Manager, Davis Yogi, the airport administrator, and others, including members of the state legislature. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Governor Ige attend as well. He also opposed the gate expansion plan and called that aspect “tone deaf.”

Read: Hawaii Airport Parking Is Full. Is Turo Part Of The Problem?

Please share your experiences at Kauai’s airport and what you think should come next for LIH.


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15 thoughts on “Help Plan Kauai Airport’s Future | 4.5 M Passengers Anticipated”

  1. Ige and Green are the lollipop 🍭 kids,they blow into town and make sure everyone gets one to quell the crowd. They don’t care, there’s no line for them! With the Increase in Tourism comes the Responsibility to move people quickly, not punish them for personal reasons. They will become “Moody” and a Disruptive Force if inconvenienced too much. That’s worthy of Complaints from Everyone and Entitlement will be prevalent.3 gates will help, none of this will stop increased Tourism so why punish and enrage those paying the bills. For now it’s the Best Advice. Recoup the improvements by a small fee, it seems to be extremely popular and makes sense for this.

  2. Hello, I just want to say that I love the Kauai airport the way it is. When you depart the plane you really feel like your on your own island there is no commercialism there is an open air walkway to the baggage claim you just get this ahhhh moment we are here.
    Of course if you build it they will come and that is a double edge sword the loss of the quaintness or the economy growth.
    Some things are best left alone even though the population is growing the old is still attainable which makes Kauai so appealing.
    Long live the past and let the future land somewhere else😊🌺


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