Tango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3728 posts, RR: 31 Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1918 times:
For many years, Hilo (ITO) was Hawaii's undisputed "second city" (after HNL) in terrms of non-stop and direct service to/from the Mainland U.S.A. (by several airlines). Such service to/from ITO ceased altogether and rather abruptly sometime in the 1980s, never to be restarted to this day.
Why was ITO, Hawaii's one time "second city," dropped altogether from Mainland-Hawaii route maps?
HAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2472 posts, RR: 53 Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1611 times:
The reason is that most of the tourist destinations & resorts are on the other side of the island. People originally flew to ITO because it was the only airport on the island capable of supporting large aircraft. Once they extended the runway at KOA to its present length of 11,000ft in 1993 (supporting all long range flights), there was no need or demand for flights to ITO.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
WA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2059 posts, RR: 12 Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1524 times:
Until 1967, all intercontinental flights to Hawaii used HNL. In 1967, the three airlines serving HNL from the US Mainland (United, Pan Am, and Northwest) were allowed to serve ITO, in exchange for agreeing to subsidize fares their passengers paid to Aloha and Hawaiian for tickets that included both transpacific and interisland segments ("Common Fares"). This was part of an effort to get tourists to visit islands other than Oahu. When Western, Continental, TWA, Braniff, and American were awarded routes to Hawaii in 1969, they were also given authority to serve ITO, although not all of these airlines served ITO.
ITO was chosen as the "second" gateway to Hawaii because it was the only airport, other than HNL, that was capable of accomodating intercontinental aircraft. The resorts on the "Big Island" have always been closer to KOA than they are to ITO, but KOA's facilities were inferior to ITO's until the 1980s. Likewise, for many years, residents on Maui opposed attempts to expand OGG to accomodate flights from the mainland. Maui bound passengers could either fly via HNL, and backtrack to Maui, or change planes at ITO. Many chose to go via ITO because it is a much more compact airport than HNL.
Although deregulation allowed nonstops from the US Mainland to airports other than HNL and ITO, KOA, LIH, and OGG were not upgraded to handle flights to / from the mainland until the mid 1980s. UA suspended service at ITO in 1986, soon after OGG had been upgraded to accomodate intercontinental flights.
Hiloboy1 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 77 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1417 times:
I bleed Hilo, but its sad to say there is nothing for the visitors except the Volcano is closer. Our hotels on our side are dumps; granted they're being upgraded now but its too late, all the great resorts and beaches are on the Kona side of the island. We're very laid back, our folks don't like change and I kind of don't blame them as the traffic is horrible in Kona now. We couldn't even get a Super Walmart on our side because folks/politicians didn't want the change. So I guess we were our own worst enemy and killed the "intercontinental flights" from our airport. Maybe Allegient or Southwest will come someday!! (just adding fuel to the fire) LOL.
SurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2618 posts, RR: 31 Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1403 times:
Under the era of regulation, Hilo was much like, say, the Shannon stopover that was required by the bygone U.S.-Ireland bilateral agreement. Hilo was not really served by choice but rather out of necessity - air service levels were far higher than they ever should have been. All of the airlines quickly left after deregulation allowed them to, while United (always the market leader from mainland to Hawaii) held out until 1986. Hilo is close to the Big Island volcanoes but in and of itself is not a destination for tourists as Honolulu, Maui, Kona, and Lihue are. For those that are headed to Hilo it is not hard to fly to Honolulu or even Maui and connect to Hilo from there on HA.
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
Cch362 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 147 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1337 times:
Hilo is a charming town, but it has a terrible climate (way too much rain), which is why the resort developments failed on that side. Since most the of the U.S.-Hawaii traffic is tourist, most Big Island passengers head for Kailua-Kona.