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Kona airport reopens, but will close overnight for runway repair

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.

State officials said the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole reopened at noon today, following the closure of a runway this morning to repair an asphalt crack.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said the crack in the pavement formed overnight, between the intersections of Taxiways “G” and “H” on Runway 17-35.

DOT officials said they suspect overnight rain was a factor in the crack, which was discovered early this morning. Visual inspections are conducted daily.

Although the airport has reopened, DOT said the airport will be closed overnight — 12:30 to 5 a.m. — as crews conduct additional pavement repairs.

“The paving activities are needed to establish a more long-term repair solution to the crack,” transportation officials said in a news release. “There are no alternate runways at KOA, and therefore the airport will be closed for flight operations during the overnight repairs. In the event an emergency medical evacuation is needed, helicopter service out of KOA will be available.”

HDOT said it has coordinated with airlines and other partners to minimize impacts to flights. No commercial flights are scheduled during the closure.

Passengers are advised to check on the status of the flights with their airlines.

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The Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport is temporarily closed to patch a crack in the runway, according to state officials.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said in an advisory it anticipates being able to reopen the runway by noon.

It isn’t the first time the airport at Keahole has had to close this year due to cracks in the runway.

In January, there were three cracks in the runway that disrupted flights.

The first crack measured 3 by 10 inches that had eroded into a hole 3 feet deep. A second crack was discovered shortly after, measuring 8 inches long and 2 inches wide. Details on the third crack were not provided.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority said they are monitoring the situation and are in contact with HDOT and the airlines that service the airport. “We are working and coordinating internally with our partners at the Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Visitors Bureaus on each island, and Kilohana,” the agency said in an email.

“We will share updated information as soon as we have it. Passengers are encouraged to contact their airline for information on their specific flights.”

Hawaiian Airlines said it is holding flights to and from the Kona airport while waiting for the state to repair the runway.

“We’ve canceled one HNL-KOA roundtrip, and delayed five flights,” said Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson Alex Da Silva. “In the meantime, we have issued a travel waiver giving guests traveling to or from Kona today flexibility to change their flights at no cost.”

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