Chronology of Aviation in Hawaii
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- Aviation in Hawaii kicked off with a balloonist, saw Hawaii's first airplane flight in 1910 and ended with the purchase of Ford Island by the War Department.
- Navy Commander John Rodgers' first trans-Pacific flight from San Francisco to Hawaii, was followed by successful flights by the Army and civilians. Work continued on new airfields, and Inter-Island Airlines launched commercial interisland passenger service.
- Aviation grew during the 1930s with the trans-Pacific flights of Amelia Earhart and Charles Kingsford Smith, the introduction of Pan American Airways into the islands, the construction of new airfields by the military, and the continued improvements to John Rodgers Field.
- World War II affected aviation in Hawaii forever. The military took over all airfields in the Territory after December 7, 1941 and improved the airfield and built new facilities at major fields. After the War the airports were returned to the Territory and commercial aviation resumed. New airlines entered the interisland and trans-Pacific markets. John Rodgers Field was renamed Honolulu Airport.
- Increased commercial air travel and the Korean War Airlift placed major stresses on the terminal facilities at Honolulu Airport and plans were begun for a new terminal on the North side of the airport. A new terminal at Lihue opened. The first jet service came to Hawaii.
- A new Hawaii Department of Transportation was formed as Statehood was implemented. A new terminal was constructed at Honolulu International Airport (HNL). It soon proved too small and additional facilities began construction. A search was begun for a new general aviation airport on Oahu. A joint-use agreement was made between Hickam AFB and HNL. A new jet runway was added at Hilo Airport. New terminals were underway at Kona and Molokai.
- The state leased Ford Island for general aviation. A new terminal at Keahole was dedicated. Jumbo jet service was initiated at Honolulu International. The Reef Runway was constructed at HNL. Airport facilities continued to be upgraded statewide to meet the travel demand of the public. The FAA instituted a new security program.
- Construction work continued at all state airports to expand facilities to meet the public's travel demands. Hurricane Iwa affected Lihue and Honolulu airports. United Airlines began direct daily service to Kahului and Keahole Airports from the Mainland. Others followed. The FAA dedicated a new Air Traffic Control Tower at HNL. Pan American celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first flight across the Pacific, and soon thereafter announced the sale of its Pacific routes to United Airlines. A new Lihue Airport Terminal was dedicated. New carriers continued to enter and leave the Hawaii market.
- Maui's new terminal was dedicated at Kahului. Planning began for a new International Terminal at HNL. The Persian Gulf War caused airports to operate at FAA Security Level 4 which restricted access to terminal interiors. Passenger travel began to decline. Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai and affected all state airports. The new Interisland Terminal at HNL was dedicated. Runways were extended, new facilities were built at all airports. New carriers continued to enter and leave the market. The former Barbers Point Naval Air Station was acquired by the state as a reliever airport for HNL and for general aviation.
- Aviation changed drastically on September 11, 2001 after the terrorist attack on the United States. All aircraft was grounded for three days and airlines drastically reduced their flight schedules. The Transportation Security Administration was established to oversee security at all U.S. airports. A number of airlines went into bankruptcy. The CIP program at state airports was cut to reflect the near 20 percent decline in passengers. By 2004, slight increases in passengers and flights were recorded.