Kona International Airport
History and museums
Kona International Airport at Keāhole (IATA: KOA, ICAO: PHKO, FAA LID: KOA) is on the Island of Hawaiʻi, in Kalaoa CDP, Hawaiʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The airport serves leeward, or Western Hawaiʻi island, including the town of Kailua-Kona and the resorts of the North Kona and South Kohala districts.
Much of the runway is built on a relatively recent lava flow: the 1801 Huʻehuʻe flow from Hualālai. This flow extended the shoreline out an estimated 1 mi (1.6 km), adding some 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi) of land to the island and creating Keāhole Point. The new airport opened on July 1, 1970, with a single 6,500-foot (2.0 km) runway; the previous smaller airstrip was converted into the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.
Construction crews from Bechtel Corporation had used three million pounds of dynamite to flatten the lava flow (which was riddled with Lava tubes) within 13 months.
In its first full year, 515,378 passengers passed through the new open-air tropical-style terminals. The aquaculture ponds and solar energy experiments at the nearby Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) can be seen during landing and take-off.
It was originally known as Ke-āhole Airport, since the ʻāhole fish (Kuhlia sandvicensis) was found nearby.
Runway extension to 11,000 feet was in 1994, making it the largest in the Hawaiian Islands after Honolulu. It became Keāhole-Kona International Airport in 1993; in 1997 it became the Kona International Airport at Keāhole.
Japan Airlines' Kona-Tokyo flight that started in 1996 ended in 2010, so Hawaii Island's only scheduled international flight is to Vancouver. Hawaiian Airlines filed an application with the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) for nonstop flights from Kona to Tokyo's Haneda Airport restoring the link between the two cities after Japan Airlines ended flights to Narita Airport in 2010. The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) rejected the airline's application despite support from residents of west Hawaii. On October 23, 2013, Hawaiian Airlines announced that they will re-apply to the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) for nonstop Kona-Haneda flights a year after the airline was rejected to fly that route in favor of Delta's Seattle to Haneda nonstop.
Kona International at Keahole Airport covers 2,700 acres (1,100 ha) at an elevation of 47 feet (14 m) above mean sea level. It has one asphalt runway, 17/35, 11,000 by 150 feet (3,353 x 46 m).
The state government of Hawaiʻi facility operates a runway and a terminal complex of single story buildings along the eastern edge of the airfield for passengers, air cargo and mail, airport support, and general aviation.
Kona International is the only remaining major airport in the Hawaiian Islands where a mobile ramp is used to plane and deplane passengers. Kona International sees daily 717, 737, 757, 767, A321 and 777 aircraft, as well as smaller inter-island aircraft, and general private aviation. The airport terminal is a rambling, open-air set of structures. Long after other airports in Hawaiʻi converted their terminals to multi-story buildings with automated jetway systems, Hawaiian Airlines could still utilize their DC-9 fleet's tailcone exits at Kailua-Kona.
An environmental impact statement was prepared in 2005 to add a second runway. The United States Air Force investigated building a second 3,950 ft (1,200 m) runway in 2009. This would be used for practicing landing C-17 military cargo planes on a short runway. Although the 11,000 ft (3,353 m) runway allows flights to Japan and Chicago, it is the only major airport in Hawaii with a single runway.
In the year ending May 31, 2007 the airport had 150,624 aircraft operations, an average of 412 per day: 50% general aviation, 22% scheduled commercial, 15% air taxi, and 13% military. 59 aircraft were then based at this airport: 68% single-engine, 14% multi-engine, 14% helicopter, 2% glider and 3% ultralight.
The airport has two gate areas: Terminal "1" has gates 1–5 with Baggage Claim A Terminal "2" has gates 6–10 with Baggage Claim B