WAILUKU >> Larger aircraft could be using Maui’s remote Hana Airport if the state carries out planned improvements.
The state is planning to add features to allow the airport to accommodate aircraft with up to 30 passengers, the Maui News reported. Currently, only planes with nine passengers or fewer can use the remote airport.
In June, the governor released $2.1 million for capital improvement projects at Hana Airport. Improvements include a new aircraft rescue and firefighting station, security fencing and a runway safety area. Of those funds, $1 million was designated for the design of the rescue and firefighting station and another $1.1 million was issued for the design of unspecified airfield improvements.
Officials haven’t yet set a timeline for the improvements to be made. Once they are completed, Hana Airport likely will be classified as a Class III airport, state transportation officials said. The Federal Aviation Administration issues airport certifications based on the size of the airport and the types of flights available. Class III airports service only smaller aircraft of 10 to 30 seats.
Kahului, Kapalua, Molokai and Lanai airports all are listed as Class I airports, which service large carriers with 31 or more seats, as well as smaller scheduled aircraft.
Mokulele Airlines is the only carrier with scheduled flights to and from Hana Airport. Mokulele offers daily flights between Hana and Kahului, Molokai and Kailua-Kona, according to the airline’s website. Several nonscheduled carriers of similar size also serve the airport on demand, State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said.