Second question first, yes, all passengers arriving in the United States must clear Customs and Immigration at their point of entry even if they are continuing on another flight. That leads to the first question, is two hours and twenty five minutes sufficient to de-plane, clear Customs and Immigration, re-enter through the TSA
checkpoint (required for all passengers arriving on international flights), and connect to the next flight? The answer depends in part on how many other international flights arrive around the same time. Although flight schedules may be different when your friend travels, an examination of arriving international flights in HNL
for January 23 shows the following:
) arrive 1000
) arrive 1015
) arrive 1125
) arrive 1240
Apparently the Hawaiian flight from Sydney does not operate on January 23, but assuming it did there would not seem to be too much danger of long lines in Customs and Immigration.
Still, if it were me, I'm not sure I would be comfortable with two and a half hours to make the connection. If there were no lines in Customs and Immigration and if the TSA
checkpoint were moving smoothly I would say there should be no problem, but those are two big assumptions. I passed through HNL
last month and the TSA
checkpoints in the Overseas Terminal were no picnic. But, if Hawaiian issues the ticket then it would be considered a legal connection and I guess the claim is that the connection should be doable. So it's really your friend's call and what he or she is most comfortable with.