If you think Honolulu International Airport is sorely in need of an upgrade, you’re right. In fact, it’s in the middle of one right now. Pacific Business News Editor in Chief A. Kam Napier has more.
Is it possible for people to forget a nearly $2-billion capital improvement project happening right under their noses? The answer could be yes, given how often we at PBN hear complaints that the airport needs to be modernized.
The fact is, Honolulu International Airport is three years into a modernization project that will last until 2020. And 2016 is the year the project really takes off, with hard to miss improvements to the taxiways and concession areas.
It all got underway during the Lingle administration, which launched the statewide, $2.3-billion project to update all of Hawai‘i’s airports.
At HNL, so far, a new cargo and maintenance facility has been built for Hawaiian Airlines. And as 2015 closes, an energy efficient project will be completed, estimated to cut the airport’s energy use in half. Interesting fact: the airport used to use 600 different kinds of lightbulbs. That’s reduced to just 90.
Future phases include new pedestrian bridges, improvements to the mauka concourse, complete remodels of all the restrooms and finally, a permanent consolidated rental car facility.
The project is three years behind schedule, but is also $200 million under budget for the same reason: A commuter terminal that had been part of the plan has since been dropped. It took some time for officials to make the decision, as the number of commuter airlines using the airport dropped from four to two.