Kauai Airport Plans Run Afoul Due To Opposition

Kauai Airport Plans Run Afoul Due To Opposition

First, Kauai Airport (LIH) has needed to get compliant with FAA safety rules for more than 15 years but has not done so. At long last, however, the county planning commission this week approved permits that allow the state DOT/Airports to complete the long overdue runway relocation project. Previously the airport had been operating under an FAA exemption to those safety requirements since the Hawaii DOT/Airports said they couldn’t make the needed improvements. Following that, the FAA provided the state with an alternative plan which has been adopted, and for which the state allocated funds for the work to commence.

Lihue airport is the only airport in the U.S. that doesn’t comply with FAA runway safety rules.

After the relocation work is completed, one of the runways will shift by 855 feet. The reason is to increase the protective space around the runway, for safety in the event of any failed landing.

In addition, there will be a new 920′ wall built, plus a 200′ “blast pad.” Lastly, lightly will be brought into compliance by changing to LED from the current incandescent type lights The upcoming runway project is scheduled to begin next fall.

Additional gates won’t happen at this time due to opposition.

There was a huge community outpouring to quash the Hawaii DOT’s plan to add three additional gates to the seriously overcrowded airport. After that, the DOT dropped the plan and decided to focus on the modernization of the current airport. Repairs and improvements to the existing facility are badly needed, but we’ll skip the restroom photos among others that would clearly make that point. As you know, Hawaii airports still land at the bottom in U.S. rankings.

The planning department said that the state DOT/Airports is also still “looking at possible improvements besides the runway, to expand the actual facilities in the airport.”

Overloaded, problematic gates are becoming the norm at Lihue Airport.

There aren’t enough gates to accommodation flights, especially at peak times, It isn’t clear how the state plans to deal with that situation, And it may not be in the DOT’s purview to decide on the number of flights and their schedules. So this may get interesting.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the largest transportation agency of the U.S. government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country… Its powers include air traffic management, certification of personnel and aircraft, [and] setting standards for airports.”

Editor Jeff mentioned that when he flew from Lihue this week, his plane departed from gate 10a, which in reality is no gate at all. Instead, it is the opening to a stairwell that leads to the ground. After a walk, boarding ramps are used to access flights now regularly using that “gate.” Inasmuch as it appears to have as never been intended to be a regular-use gate, among other problems there is problematic, slow, and limited handicapped access for those flights.

Leave a Comment

Comment policy:
* No profanity, rudeness, personal attacks, or bullying.
* Hawaii focused only. General comments won't be published.
* No links or UPPER CASE text. English please.
* No duplicate posts or using multiple names.
* Use a real first name, last initial.
* Comments edited/published/responded to at our discretion.
* Beat of Hawaii has no relationship with our commentors.
* 750 character limit.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

11 thoughts on “Kauai Airport Plans Run Afoul Due To Opposition”

  1. Just because an opposition group is vocal it does not represent the will of the people. Locals and visitors alike use the airport and we all deserve a safe, clean, up to date and efficiently operated airport.

  2. if you don’t like it don’t come here there’s too many people arriving daily,and too many cars on the road,put a cap on how many people can visit from the mainland, rude,they go too fast on our small roads,they are not freeways,and don’t forget,respect the local peoples, we want you just not that many,how many mainland airplanes land in lihue on a daily basis?,I’ve never seen the garden island so abused, let the island rest, fish n poi sound good to me,aloha..

  3. Not at all surprising that there woul be opposition to what is viewed as expanding tourism. What is odd is opposing safety improvements to runways that Locals need as much as tourists.
    Thanks for the great reporting!

  4. We have flown into LiHue for over 20 years without any problems!! It is a small airport with a huge following. Do only what is needed to keep things running smooth. Thank you, Rick Gloria T.

  5. Once again Hawaiian style Nimby is shown to be alive and again stopping needed improvements this time at the airport! Way past time for the state and local leaders to tell those in opposition to go pound sand and move forward without their blessing!

  6. I applaud the plans to make the runways safer and remodel the interior but leave the rest alone . Flying to and from Hawaii is a throwback I like!

  7. Kauai is A mess! Who are the people running this island? Seems to me a leadership change is very much needed. Also I hear the police are largely corrupt… problematic to say the least. Time to clean things up!!!

  8. Everything about Lihue airport is out of date, from Security, check-in counters, the common waiting area, restaurants, insufficient number of gates, to the gate areas themselves that cannot accommodate all the passengers for almost any given airplane. And then the baggage claim area where it can take half an hour after gate arrival for bags to arrive. Why is that, when the county racks in millions of dollars every year in tourist fees and taxes, on top of the landing fees the airlines must pay. But what else would you expect from the worthless Kauai administration, the one that has let the eyesore that was the fabulous Coco Palms to remain in a decrepit state, 30 years after it was destroyed? Sorry for venting, but I hope I’m not alone.

  9. Clear there are not enough gates at Lihue or Maui. And there are not enough entry access gates. am sure

    There was a time when inter-isle flight from Maui to Lihue did not have huge back ups. Some how they were able to make life much easier for folks flying inter-isle vs flying back to the Main land from Maui. This year that was certainly not the case and back up for into-isle was just as difficult as main land flights. I liked the old procedure. We would fly to Lihue to avoid the Maui mainland flight backup. Likely to skip Lihue next trip to Maui since the inter-isle board back up is just as back as flight to Mainland.

  10. The question, Could HDOT-A impose a slot limitation scheme on LIH similar to that of SNA or even LGB in California. Airlines would have to bid for slots and the award is put out by the authority – HDOT-A Kauai.

    An idea to get around the limited or no-expansion thing of LIH.

    1. Those restrictions are controlled at the federal level, not the state. So that would be FAA, which is overseen by the Department of Transportation.

Scroll to Top