Drewwright From United States of America, joined May 2001, 621 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1771 times:
All flights to the mainland from the Big Island go through Kona now. Hilo is not as attractive as a resort as Kona is because of the weather. In the seventies it used to be that all flights from the mainland went to Hilo instead of Kona, now it is the opposite. Also I think Kona's airport is better equipped to handle heavy traffic. Hilo still gets flights in but only inter-island.
Bhmal From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 140 posts, RR: 4 Reply 8, posted (11 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1732 times:
Back in the early 80's, I flew a UA DC-10 nonstop from LAX to ITO (Hilo). Drewwright is correct in that all mainland traffic has shifted the entry point into KOA (Kona) on the western side of the Big Island due to it being the primary resort area on the island.
PSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7195 posts, RR: 29 Reply 9, posted (11 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1643 times:
Yeah, UA flies 757's and 763's into KOA from LAX & SFO. AA flies a 757 in from LAX. AQ flies a 73G from OAK. HA has some mainland flight from KOA I think too. JAL flies into KOA from NRT with MD-11's or 742's. There was a charter DC-10 when I was in their last week.
Interesting note, UA sub-ed in a 747-400 on Flt. 41 SFO-KOA on Sat. July 6th instead of a 763, that was kind of cool to see there. They used to run 742's into KOA before they retired them. A rare sight to see a 744, N119US in KOA.
RickB From United Kingdom, joined May 2003, 243 posts, RR: 10 Reply 10, posted (11 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1638 times:
Only problem with the flight into KOA is that it can take a couple of hours to drive to Hilo on mostly single lane roads if you get stuck behind slow traffic - can be really frustrating !! Although driving over the volcano makes for good sightseeing.
Having said that - out of all of the airports I have flown to - I have a really soft spot for KOA - I would even say it was my favourite airport in the world.
From having luggage carousels outdoors (although with a Hawaiian style roof - but no walls), out door gates (literally with a gate to open to get to the aircraft). To my mind it was a real tropical paradise type airport !!
Wouldn't like to arrive ona 747 though - I got the impression that one 747 might overload the airport !!
Have to say though - the photo I have of the 'Kona International Airport' sign and one Hawaiian DC9 sat there is a real gem
KKMolokai From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 760 posts, RR: 3 Reply 11, posted (11 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1581 times:
I love the Keahole, Kona (International) Airport ...
What a (plane) ride you get coming in to Kona, flying in over the old lava flows ... with the airport on the beach. Its such a pretty approach. The thatched shacks (outdoor gates, luggage claims, etc.) are so quaint and truly give you a sense of "Old Hawai'i." Its also neat having to walk out to the plane, and board by stairs, rather than the conventional jetways. You really get a feel for the size and awesome capabilities of the aircraft you are boarding.
KOA has won numerous awards for the design and architecture of its airport. For those of us who have had the pleasure of flying in/out of there, we know why! Aloha.
We are the people of American Airlines. And we know why you fly.
Jsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1949 posts, RR: 16 Reply 12, posted (11 years 5 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 1525 times:
Some background on nonstop Hilo service...
Hilo was to be developed as the "second gateway" to Hawaii in the 1970s. At that time, Honolulu International Airport was under major expansion, and the 'Reef Runway' had yet to be built. Government and tourism officials thought another transpacific airport would be needed to handle the increased traffic.
In 1965-1966 Hilo lengthened its east-west runway to handle heavy jets like the 707 and DC8, and in 1969 built a temporary 'overseas' terminal adjacent to the existing building. To get the transpacific gateway off the ground, most of the routes awarded in the 1969 Transpacific Route Case included stops in Hilo or weekend nonstops.
Consequently, in the late 1960s and early 1970s Hilo was served by United, Pan Am, Northwest, Continental, Western and even Braniff for awhile. United had nonstops from SFO and LAX (as well as from ORD for a time), Northwest served Hilo from PDX and SEA, Continental from SEA and Western from LAX. All of these airlines brought in widebody DC10 and 747 aircraft after 1970.
Hilo began planning a new terminal complex to serve all of the larger jetliners, which had overwhelmed the modest terminal. The new (and current) building opened in 1976 and was the second airport in Hawaii to have jetbridges.
Most of the resorts were in Kona, though, and in the 1980s KOA began to siphon away some of the nonstop flights. Northwest, Western and Continental pulled out of the Neighbor Island market altogether. United opened up a Kona station in 1983-1984, and pulled out of Hilo completely in 1986.
Now Kona has an 11,000 foot jet runway and Hilo has a half-empty terminal. Many nonstop flights also moved to Kahului (OGG) on Maui, which can really be viewed as the state's second transpacific gateway. If only they could that runway extended...