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Mostly Reopened Honolulu Airport Runway | Traveler Warning

Today the Hawaii Department of Transportation announced that it had reopened the 8L runway that has been wreaking havoc for Hawaii travelers for a long time. This should come as great news to visitors and residents who have suffered untold delays traveling throughout the islands since Honolulu is the primary airport, and its problems have overflowed to the airports at Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai.

But while the solution arrived at is of great relief to airlines, the FAA, and especially travelers, it isn’t entirely over yet. First, however, the good news.

Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces the reopening of Runway 8L at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) as of 6 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2023. – Hawaii DOT

The major reconstruction project, which now ranks second only to constructing the famous Reef Runway at HNL, has been ongoing since last October. DOT said, “The project involved the 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. Runway safety features, such as edge lights and navigational aids, were also upgraded.”

Clearly, the busiest travel season ever recorded is about to get underway, so it is a tremendous relief that DOT found a way to open the runway. Dot said, “We appreciate the patience of the travelers and airlines with the reduced capacity and the hard work put in by our partners to get 8L ready for the summer travel season.”

Nightly closures continue from 5 PM, so travelers beware of evening arrivals and departures.

While the construction meant that all arriving aircraft were forced to use runway 4R, problems weren’t entirely resolved. To complete the project, DOT said nightly closures would be from 5 PM to 7 AM daily. That will continue throughout the summer and likely well into fall 2023.

We suggest Hawaii travelers try to avoid arrivals and departures after 5 PM as those will likely continue to experience significant delays. We’ll update you as we learn more. Beat of Hawaii’s editors will be flying throughout the islands on a very regular basis throughout summer. Look for more updates soon.


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4 thoughts on “Mostly Reopened Honolulu Airport Runway | Traveler Warning”

  1. Since most – if not all – mainland bound flights leave from the reef runway, will those flights really be affected very much?

    1. “Leaving” is only 1/2 the equation. So they shouldn’t be affected too much – unless some of the landing traffic is assigned 8R (Reef Runway).

      There’s not much daily landing traffic from 1700-0700 that can’t use 4R to land; although in a “HEAVY” – even a “light” one that’s just crossed the Pacific – you’re sometimes standing on your head w/ breaking and reverse thrust to safely get stopped.

      (source: 20+ years in the cockpit flying in/out of HNL in a B-747)

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