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HNL 1950-1959


HNL 1950s



The latter part of the year saw a substantial increase in traffic at Honolulu Airport, where new arrangements had to be made to increase parking facilities for overseas planes and for handling the public.


Canadian Pacific Airlines began regularly scheduled service to Honolulu.  U.S. Air Coach Inc. and Associated Airways Inc. started irregular passenger service between Oakland and Honolulu.


The fall and winter of the fiscal year saw the beginning of Stratocruiser service between the West Coast and Hawaii by United Airlines, Inc. and Northwest Airlines, Inc.


Shelter was erected over 20 car parking stalls which were available to employees at the airport for a nominal fee.  The acceptance was so good that more shelters for car parking were planned.  The expansion and paving of the car parking area for interisland travels was completed.


The proper drainage of low paved areas was a continuing project and was resolved by the construction of dry walls about the airport.


The Overseas Terminal Building, Immigration and Freight Cargo Buildings were painted as were several other buildings on the airport.


With the acquisition of some 75 additional buildings from the Navy in January 1950, the maintenance and upkeep problems were increased and additional personnel were hired to meet the increased load.


The Airport fire department was comprised of 19 men and five pieces of mobile apparatus.  They were trained to offer emergency service equal to most airports of comparable size on the mainland.  An extensive fire fighter training program, covering crash and structural fire extinguishment and fire prevention practices, was continuing.



July 10, 1949

Canadian Pacific Airlines’ Conadair IV arrived at Honolulu Airport on its inaugural flight from Vancouver, B.C. to Sydney, Australia, by way of San Francisco and Honolulu.

August 6, 1949

Associated Airways, Inc. inaugurated irregular flight service between San Francisco and Honolulu with DC-4 Skymaster planes.

September 24, 1949

Pan American Airways’ Stratocruiser arrived at Honolulu Airport on a survey flight from San Francisco to Tokyo, Japan, with 23 passengers.  The flight continued on to Japan. 

October 17, 1949

Pan American Airways began commercial flights from San Francisco to Tokyo via Honolulu.

October 18, 1949

Governor Ingram M. Stainback signed Act 18 of the Special Session of Hawaii 1949, appropriating $442,570 for Honolulu Airport.

October 28, 1949

Canadian Pacific Airlines was authorized by the CAB to provide passenger service at Honolulu under provisions of U.S.-Canadian air transport agreement. 

November 6, 1949

Northwest Airlines began Stratocruiser service between Seattle-Tacoma and Honolulu.  The Stratocruiser was christened Honolulu and marked the inauguration of Northwest Airlines’ overnight service between New York and Hawaii.

November 10, 1949

China National Aviation Corporation announced suspension of service because of Communist victory in China.  The last CNAC flight through Honolulu was on November 5.

December 19, 1949

United Airlines’ Stratocruiser arrived at Honolulu Airport on initial familiarization flight from San Francisco.

January 3, 1950

Pan American Airways’ Stratocruiser completed the first commercial non-stop flight in history from Tokyo to Honolulu, covering the 3,933 mile distance in 11 hours and 24 minutes, without making the customary stop at Midway for refueling.  The B377 Stratocruiser continued on to Los Angeles, completing the Tokyo-Honolulu-Los Angeles trip in an elapsed time of 19 hours and 48 minutes.  The Tokyo-Honolulu record was later broken by another PAA Stratocruiser which flew nonstop in 10 hours and 55 minutes.

January 6, 1950

Clark M. Kee, nationally known airport designer and engineer, began work as a consulting engineer for the HAC to design a master plan for the Territorial Airport System.

January 14, 1950

United Air Lines’ Stratocruiser was christened Waipahu at a Honolulu Airport ceremony by Mrs. Hans L’Orange, wife of the manager of Oahu Sugar Company.

January 15, 1950

United Air Lines began Stratocruiser service between San Francisco and Honolulu.

February 21, 1950

Juan T. Trippe, president of Pan American Airways, arrived in Honolulu for the annual Pan Am board of directors meeting.

March 1, 1950

Cockett Airlines began air mail star route service between Honolulu and Kalaupapa.

March 21, 1950

Cyrenus L. Gillette was appointed superintendent of airports and operations by the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission.

March 24, 1950

U.S. Air Coach Line began irregular passenger service between Oakland and Honolulu.

March 29, 1950

Canadian Pacific Airlines announced that Canadians flying to Honolulu from Canada would not need passports or visas in the future.  Non-Canadians and persons traveling beyond Honolulu were still required to have passports or visas.

April 5, 1950

The Marshall Mars, the Navy’s 72-ton flying boat, burned and sank off Keehi Lagoon, Honolulu Airport, following a fire which broke out from No. 3 engine while on a test flight.  Seven crewmen escaped uninjured.

April 9, 1950

PAA’s Stratocruiser flew to Hilo for the opening of the Hilo Tribune-Herald’s new printing plant.  The trip was made from Honolulu in 49 minutes and 49 seconds, and the return flight in 55 minutes.

April 12, 1950

Honolulu Airport’s ownership was transferred from the Navy to the Territory of Hawaii in an Executive Order signed by President Harry S. Truman.

April 15, 1950

United Air Lines’ Stratocruiser flew to Hilo for the Hawaii County Fair.  The trip was made in 47 minutes and 35 seconds.

April 25, 1950

Hawaiian Air Transport Service announced that it was going out of business as a result of the CAB’s ruling limiting the number of flights of irregular air carriers.

April 29, 1950

United Air Lines’ Stratocruiser flew from Honolulu to Kahului to hold an open house for the people on Maui.

May 3, 1950

Trans-Pacific Airlines inaugurated a “family fare” plan for travel between the islands.

May 5, 1950

China National Aviation Corporation closed its Honolulu office after suspending its service on November 5, 1949.

May 15, 1950

Trans-Air Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines and Trans-Pacific Airlines were ranked 15th, 16th and 32nd, respectively, among the 32 certificated domestic air cargo carriers in the United States in 1949 by American Aviation magazine.

June 14, 1950

Hawaiian Airlines, Ltd. was named recipient of the first 20 year aviation safety award by the National Safety Council for having the all-time record for safe flying. 

FY 1950

Design was underway for an extension to the Terminal Building and Lei Vendor’s Stand by E. L. Bauer and Wimberly and Cook, at a cost of $4,000.

June 1950

Bids were opened for rehabilitation of Honolulu Airport. The contract was awarded to Hawaiian Bitumuls Co., Ltd.  The project included resurfacing and seal coating of runways and taxiways at a cost of $133,370.  Work was completed in September. This was the first resurfacing and seal coating since the development of the airport by the Navy during World War II.



The boundaries of Honolulu International Airport, including the Seadrome channels, comprised an area of 1,019.476 acres.  However, title to an area of 177.883 acres within the airport and adjoining Hickam Air Force Base, on which the ends of runway 14-32 and 8-26 encroach, rested with the Air Force.  An effort was made to acquire this land from the Air Force to meet CAA requirements in the expenditure of federal funds for improvements to the runway and to tie runway 8-26 into the Hickam extension of this runway.  The Air Force would only agree to a 20-year lease on portions of this area immediately adjacent to the runways.  This lease enabled the HAC to pave a 540-foot connecting link with the new Hickam extension to runway 8-26, making a runway 200 feet wide and 13,067 feet long.  The Honolulu portion was 8,190 feet long.  The runway, capable of handling the largest aircraft in use, was one of the longest in the world.


The Korean Airlift had been in operation for a full year.  Overseas operations doubled at Honolulu Airport due to this military operation and the insignia of large transport aircraft bearing such names as Sabena (Belgian), American Overseas, Eastern Airlines, Western Airlines, California Central Airlines, California Eastern Airlines, Flying Tigers, Overseas National Airlines and Seaboard Western Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Pan American World Airways were seen at the airport.


The thousands of service men of the United Nations stopping over at the terminal enroute to Korea and returning as casualties, as well as the evacuation of military dependents from Japan, made Honolulu Airport unique in the war effort.


Caring for those enroute passengers, which included as many as 46 infants and small children and their mothers, some of whom were recent war widows, posed a problem which the Salvation Army quickly had under control.


The HAC board room was converted into a hospitality room under the able direction of the Salvation Army.


Service men were entertained in the restful atmosphere of the hospitality room where they could read, write, play cards or just rest on the punees.  Pineapple juice, coffee and cookies were available.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars assisted the Salvation Army in providing several thousand dollars to help defray expenses involved in Operation Hospitality.


While all civilian aircraft involved in the airlift were serviced at Honolulu Airport, aircraft of the Military Air Transport Service landed at Honolulu Airport and taxied to Hickam AFB.  These operations, together with the regular overseas and interisland carriers, placed Honolulu Airport in third place for the entire nation in total control tower operations.


The heavy increase in traffic and new demands on the terminal necessitated the commencement of plans for major alterations at the terminal.  The federal government would not sanction the construction of a new terminal prior to July 1, 1954, because of the war emergency program.


The U.S. Agriculture Plant Inspection counter moved to a location between the two front entrance doors to the Terminal lobby.  The relocation was to make more room for airline counters and increase facilities for expediting plant inspection.  Northwest Airlines was provided with a counter and dispatching office at the previous location of the USDA. The Airport Florist also relocated.


The lanai extension to the airport restaurant was completed just in time to take care of the Korean Airlift.  Additional space was constructed for Trans-Pacific Airlines to meet their dispatching and express requirements.  An extension to the airport kitchen was constructed with steam cleaning facilities for sanitary handling of garbage.  A sanitary sewage disposal unit was constructed for joint use of three overseas carriers.


Office space was provided for California-Eastern Airlines, Flying Tigers and Aeronautical Radio, as well as MATS.  Space was constructed adjacent to the baggage claiming counter for a parcel and baggage checking facility.  The HAC offices were remodeled to provide a more efficient working space.  The U.S. Public Health, Immigration and Customs area were renovated and decorated, providing improvements indicated by experience for more expeditious handling of foreign arrivals.           


Clark M. Kee, a nationally known airport designer and engineer became a consultant to the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission and was appointed airport engineer and maintenance director in May 1951.



July 1950

Hawaiian Airlines began a family fare plan for travel between the islands.

August 1950

Installation began on an automatic emergency electrical power generator at Honolulu Airport for runway marker lights and CAA communications.

August 1950

Aircraft ramp positions at Honolulu Overseas Terminal increased from five to eight, and passenger concourse fencing for new positions was completed.

October 1950

United Air Lines inaugurated Los Angeles-Honolulu service with the arrival of its Boeing Stratocruiser Hawaii with 48 passengers.

October 1950

United Air Lines’ Boeing Stratocruiser was christened Oahu at a colorful ceremony held at Honolulu Airport before its departure for Los Angeles with 34 passengers.  Heretofore, UAL flew only between San Francisco and Honolulu but was recently authorized by the CAB to fly between Los Angeles and Honolulu.

October 1950

Hawaiian Airlines’ Hangar No. 1, constructed 20 years ago, reverted to the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission at the end of its lease.  Hangar No. 2 reverted to the HAC in November.

November 1950

Pan American World Airways observed the 15th anniversary of its first trans-Pacific flight from San Francisco to Honolulu, Midway, Wake, Guam and Manila.  The first flight was made by the China Clipper which carried the first air mail from San Francisco to Manila.  During the 15 years since its first trans-Pacific flight, Pan Am made 18,254 flights between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii, and carried a total of 281,613 passengers.

December 4, 1950

A Pan American Strato Clipper set a new commercial air record for a flight between Honolulu and Los Angeles by making the trip in 7 hours and 20 minutes.

January 1951

United Air Lines celebrated its 10,000th crossing of the Pacific between California and Honolulu.  Although UAL inaugurated its commercial flying service in Honolulu in May 1947, it had more than eight years of trans-Pacific flying experience, including both commercial and military contract operations.

January 1951

The water distribution system at Honolulu Airport was turned over to the Board of Water Supply for operation and maintenance.

February 7, 1951

An area of about 104 acres of the Hickam Field reservation was leased by the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission for 20 years. This lease enabled the Commission to pave a 540-foot connecting link with the new Hickam extension to Runway 8-26, making a runway 200 feet wide and 13,104 feet long.  Runway 8-26 was one of the world’s longest runways.  Honolulu Airport was the third busiest airport in the U.S. at this time.

April 27, 1951

Act 3, Session Laws of Hawaii 1951, was signed by the Governor to change the name of Honolulu Airport to Honolulu International Airport.  The Act took effect 10 days after its promulgation.

April 1951

The Honolulu International Airport Master Plan by Clark M. Kee, Consulting Engineer for HAC, was distributed.

May 1951

The electrical distribution system at Honolulu International Airport was turned over to the Hawaiian Electric Company, Ltd. for operation and maintenance.

May 1951

Joint Resolution 13, Session Laws of Hawaii 1951, was signed by the Governor.  One of its provisions exempted any individual, firm or corporation engaged solely in the business of transporting property by air within the territory from the payment of aircraft landing fees, land and building rentals charged by the HAC, for a period of three years ending May 9, 1954.

May 1951

Trans-Pacific Airlines began carrying interisland air mail under an air mail subsidy permit granted by the CAB.  Interisland air mail was also carried by Hawaiian Airlines.  Cockett Airlines also carried interisland air mail between Honolulu and Kalaupapa.

May 1951

Hickam Air Force Base completed its section of 5,417 feet of runway joining with 7,650 feet of HNL runway to form a continuous runway of 13,067 feet for instrument Runway 8-26.

June 1951

The first Hawaiian Islands Airport Directory and Flying Safety Manual, containing information about all airports in the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the facilities available at each airport, was issued by the HAC.



The Korean airlift continued to account for increased air carrier operations.  Although the number of total operations decreased from 218, 513 in the 1950-51 fiscal year to 201,049 in FY 1951-52, there was an increase from 63,644 to 71,160 by air carriers.  The decrease in total operations was brought about primarily by the completion of improvements to Hickam Air Force Base at which time temporary military traffic was moved back to Hickam.


Installation of high intensity lights, a project that began in the fiscal year, but was delayed by the West Coast sailors’ strike, was nearly completed.


Architects were making good progress in the designing of the new Overseas Terminal, the interisland section of which could be under construction by late 1952 or early 1953.  When finally completed, the entire terminal facility for the international airport, including the new Overseas Terminal, International Arrivals Building, restaurant, parking areas, ramps, facilities for air express, provision for future seaplane operation, etc., may reach an estimated cost of $5 million.  Fifty percent of the cost was expected to be federal participation.


A number of former wartime buildings in the Naval Air facility area Ewa of the Hawaiian Airlines terminal were rehabilitated. Many of the buildings were modernized and painted; windows and roofs repaired. Also, some structures were extensively renovated and converted into income producing units. 


Some of the thriving businesses now in the area included hotels, apartments, warehouses, manufacturing, restaurants, grocery stores, meat packing plants, an egg cooperative, a theater, woodcraft shops and a college.  In addition, playground and recreation hall facilities have been provided for families living in this section.  The resident population numbered more than 900.



FY 51-52

A total of 101 parking meters were installed around the overseas terminal in order to better regulate the use of the choice auto parking stalls.

May 1952

A fire sprinkler system was provided in the overseas terminal and the adjacent airport restaurant, at a cost of $31,674.

FY 51-52

The Crash-Fire Department was relocated to the North side of the airport operation area.  This involved remodeling of an existing warehouse to provide easily accessible fire equipment storage and comfortable quarters for the crew.

October 1951

Re-roofing of certain buildings was completed at a cost of $21,202.50.

October 4, 1951

New fencing was installed at a cost of $20,102.65.

May 1952

A new sprinkler system was installed in the Terminal Building at a cost of $33,731.

June 19, 1952

Lei seller stands near the main entrance of the airport on Lagoon Drive were completed at a cost of $22,173.

August 18, 1952

New lighting was completed at a cost of $157,102.78.

FY 1952

Law and Wilson was hired to provide engineering services for the installation of a medium-intensity runway lighting system for runway 4L and its connecting taxiway, at a cost of $16,412.

FY 1952

Additions and alterations were made to the terminal building at a cost of $11,177.



Honolulu International Airport’s 13,097 foot runway was officially declared the longest runway in the world by the Airport Operators Council on April 14, 1953.


Progress on the planning of a new terminal for Honolulu was stalled due to a land utilization problem.  Terminal facilities proposed by the HAC encroached upon land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Navy.  Negotiations with Navy officials seeking adjustments which would permit a continuation of construction plans as designed failed.  Entirely new plans for the terminal and other terminal areas facilities were begun.


Overseas scheduled airlines which operated regularly from Honolulu were Pan American World Airways, United Air Lines, British Commonwealth Pacific Airways, Philippine Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, and Canadian Pacific Airlines.  Transocean Air Lines also operated from the airport as a non-scheduled airline. Transport aircraft which had been engaged in the Korean airlift and which could be seen at the airport included American Airlines, Flying Tigers, California Eastern Airlines, Seaboard and Western, Overseas National Airways, and Capital Airlines. 


Trans-Pacific and Hawaiian airlines were scheduled interisland operators.  Irregular interisland carriers were Andrew Flying Service and Cockett Airlines.  Trans-Air Hawaii operated as a scheduled carrier for freight only. 



July 1952

Interisland passenger traffic soared to new monthly records as a result of the spectacular eruption of Kilauea Crater on the Big Island.  Interisland traffic was 66,583 passengers, second highest on record.  In August, a new record of 74,713 passengers was reached.

August 18, 1952

Terminal building alterations, including a roof on the apron side were completed at a cost of $9,677.

November 1952

Construction started on the installation of medium intensity lights for runway 4L-22R. 

January 1953

Hawaiian Airlines, Ltd. placed Convair 340 planes into scheduled interisland passenger service

February 1953

A total of $60,000 was earmarked for construction of 20 T-hangars for private planes at Honolulu International Airport.

March 1953

United Air Lines inaugurated air tourist flights between Honolulu, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

March 1953

The Hawaii Aeronautics Commission revised plans for a new Honolulu International Airport terminal building following breakdown in negotiations with the Navy on land use problems.

June 1953

Hawaiian Airlines announced commencement of scheduled passenger service between Honolulu and the new Kamuela Airport effective July 1, 1953.

FY 1953

There were eight airlines operating from Honolulu International Airport which required fuel. There were five fuel companies supplying fuel. The airlines formed the Honolulu Fuels Sub-Committee to address fueling issues.



Honolulu International Airport accommodated 255,385 aircraft operations as compared to 194,129 the previous year.  Contributing heavily to the increase was the movement of military aircraft.  On a national scale, Honolulu Airport handled the largest number of military aircraft movements of any civilian facility.


Honolulu was the fourth busiest airport in the nation.


Preliminary plans for a new passenger terminal at Honolulu International Airport were approved by the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission in March 1954.  Immediately following approval of the preliminary plans, authorization was granted to proceed with construction plans and specifications.  According to the timetable set by the Superintendent of Public Works, actual construction was to start on this project not later than mid-1955.


Japan Air Lines inaugurated trans-Pacific service between Tokyo and San Francisco via Honolulu.



July 1, 1953

Act 213, Session Laws of Hawaii 1953, went into effect, reducing the Territorial aviation gasoline tax from four cents to 3.5 cents a gallon.

September 16, 1953

The medium intensity lighting system for runway 4L-22R was completed at a cost of $131,798.53.

November 1953

Northwest Orient Airlines began tourist fare service between Honolulu, Portland and Seattle-Tacoma.

December 1953

Canadian Pacific Airlines began tourist fare service between Vancouver, B.C. and Honolulu.

February 1954

Japan Air Lines inaugurated regular trans-Pacific flights between Tokyo and San Francisco via Honolulu with DC-6B planes.

February 1954

Pan American World Airways established a new Tokyo-Hawaii flight time of 9 hours and 18 minutes with a Stratoclipper using the “jet stream” across the Pacific.

March 1954

Preliminary plans for new Administration and Terminal Buildings were approved.  Plans included a new overseas terminal, new interisland terminal, a foreign arrivals unit, and restaurant area plus fencing, ramps, roadways and auto parking areas.

March 1954

The HAC granted approval for participation at the CAB hearing concerning the application of Trans-Pacific Airlines for recertification as a scheduled interisland air carrier.

March 1954

Philippine Air Lines suspended operations between Manila and San Francisco via Honolulu.

April 1954

Japan Air Lines inaugurated tourist fares between Tokyo and San Francisco via Honolulu.

April 1954

A construction contract was awarded for the extension of Hawaiian Airlines terminal facilities.

May 1954

Qantas Empire Airways established air services between Australia and Canada, via Honolulu, replacing service formerly provided by the BCPA.

May 1954

United Air Lines’ newest passenger aircraft, the DC-7, arrived from New York via San Francisco in a pre-certification flight.

May 27, 1954

Operations started at the new Hickam Control Tower, with the old tower converted for use by MATS operations.  The new tower was constructed in 1953; however equipment was not installed until 1954.

June 1954

Airport zoning regulations, developed to prevent creation of airport hazards, took effect.

June 1, 1954

Expansion work on passenger lobby and ticket counter facilities at Hawaiian Airlines terminal, were completed at a cost of $58,988.92.



The HAC adopted a Resolution requesting the assistance of the Airport Use Panel in reviewing problems surrounding the development of facilities and joint military use of Honolulu International Airport.  Subsequently, however, the HAC in cooperation with the military held up work on new terminal facilities and the Master Plan for Honolulu International Airport pending completion of a joint master plan of the composite area comprised of Honolulu International Airport, Hickam Air Force Base and Keehi Lagoon.  This action deferred the filing of the Resolution with the Airport Use Panel by the Commission.


Recognizing the importance of making visitors welcome in Hawaii, the HAC completed construction of new Lei Stands on Lagoon Drive at the entrance to the airport.  The construction cost was $31,710.  The Lei Stands replaced cars and trucks which previously had parked on the airport entry road.  Their owners sold leis they had made from the back of their vehicles.



November 11, 1954

Hawaiian Airlines celebrated the 25h anniversary of its founding.  During that time, the airline had a perfect safety record, the first airline to achieve this status.

January 1, 1955

United Air Lines inaugurated the first DC-7 passenger service to Hawaii.  The new service replaced United’s Boeing Stratocruiser flights and reduced flight time between California and Hawaii by more than one hour.

February 1955

The Hawaii Aeronautics Commission published a particularly thorough annual report. It was titled Airports at the Crossroads. It listed the duties of the nine volunteer member Commission, executive director and assistant as:

  • Maintain, operate and use the airports in full accordance with agreements with the CAA and applicable laws and regulations.
  • Formulate policies to govern the operation, maintenance and management of the airports and to administer the functions in an efficient, businesslike and judicious manner.
  • Use all airport revenues for paying the cost of operations and maintenance, carrying out obligations of laws, contracts or grant conditions and for the development or improvement of the airports.
  • Comply with all civil air regulations of the federal government applicable to aircraft and pilots using the airports.
  • Establish rules and regulations not in conflict with Federal rules for the use of the airports.
  • Protect aerial approaches to the airports.
  • Keep a record of all revenue and expenditures of the airports and prepare statements as required.
  • Advertise the airports to the maximum interest of the various communities.
  • Inaugurate necessary policies with respect to the erection of sufficient facilities to meet the requirements of aeronautical and non-aeronautical users of the airports.
  • Prepare an annual report showing costs of maintenance, operation and management of the airports together with a statement of estimated revenues and funds on hand.
  • Make recommendations with respect to any necessary legislative action required for the protection of the airports.

April 27, 1955

Northwest Airlines inaugurated its turbo-compound Super Constellation service, as an addition to DC-6B air tourist flights between the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

April 27, 1955

Resurfacing of Runway 8-26 was completed at a cost of $7,872.86.

FY 1954-55

A number of construction projects were completed, including:

  • Acquisition and improvements to hangars, $124,346
  • Auxiliary Power System, $15,144;
  • Fencing and Drainage, $33,137;
  • Improvements to Overseas Terminal Building, $121,636;
  • High Intensity Lighting System, Runway 8-26, $151,799;
  • Lei Vending Stands, $31,710;
  • Extension of Runway 8-26 to Hickam AFB, $70,781;
  • Landscaping of airport roads, $17,664;
  • Rehabilitation of temporary buildings, $52,489;
  • Miscellaneous improvements, $94,613.

FY 1954-55

Projects under construction were:

  • Private plane hangars, including taxiways, $103,043;
  • New Maintenance Baseyard, $115,000.

FY 1954-55

Projects in the planning stage:

  • Painting Overseas Terminal Building, $9,000;
  • Painting TPA Hangar, $4,785;
  • Security Fencing, $35,000.

FY 1954-55

Under Section 15-11 of the Revised Laws of Hawaii, the sum of $15,000 from the Airport Revenue Fund was mandated by the Territorial Legislature to go to the Civil Air Patrol annually. 

FY 1954-55

Honolulu International had custody of Kipapa and Bellows Fields.



On December 13, 1955 Honolulu International Airport became the first civilian airport in the nation to get a preview of commercial jet aircraft operation when the British DeHavilland Comet III jet-liner arrived on a good will flight around the world.  The jet aircraft remained in Honolulu for two days and gave a series of courtesy flights to ranking government officials, aviation officials and tourists. The Comet made the flight from Honolulu to Vancouver, British Columbia, in five hours and 39 minutes, a distance of 2,738 statute miles.


The announcement by most major airlines serving Hawaii of their decision to purchase jet aircraft and have them in operation between Hawaii and the Mainland by the middle of 1959 necessitated the expansion and improvement of the airport to handle this additional modern traffic.


The HAC had enough funds to undertake a major portion of the expansion and the construction of a new Terminal Building.  With the addition of federal participating funds, this proposed expansion was set forth in the new master plan as approved by the HAC.


The expansion of the airport also necessitated the exchange of land between the Territory and the federal government, plus acquisition of portions of the Damon Tract area adjacent to the airport.  The land exchange program was necessary to acquire land now under the direct jurisdiction of the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army for the construction of the new Terminal buildings and the service areas, also the relocation of runways, taxiways, and aprons.


Concurrent with the decision to construct the new terminal on the mauka side of the airport, the HAC began phasing out the airport housing and industrial area in that section.  Civilian and military dependent families who lived in the old apartment buildings converted from military barracks were registered and referred to the Hawaii Housing Authority and military commands for relocation.


Industrial enterprises were given notice to vacate their premises and helped in every possible way on relocation.  The area was expected to be completely vacated and ready for clearing in the near future.


The expansion of the airport and the construction of the new terminal area was timed to the schedules of the major airlines starting their jet operation in late 1959 or early 1960.



FY 1954-55

A new Baseyard and Maintenance Building was constructed, $118,000.

September 14, 1955

New small plane hangars and taxiways were completed, at a cost of $66,334.86.

September 15, 1955

Taxiways were paved at the small plane hangar area at a cost of $11,308.53

FY 1954-55

Painting of PAM Hangars was underway, $41,000.

FY 1954-55

The new Terminal was in the planning stage and estimated to cost $12.1 million.



Work continued on the Master Terminal Site Plan for Honolulu International Airport embodying development of a jet age airport and a modern passenger terminal building.  The HAC held several meetings with the Air Lines Technical Committee representing airlines serving Hawaii, the Department of Public Works, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and other users to develop the plan which was approved in September 1956.


The outstanding feature of the terminal site plan was the proposed passenger terminal building which would be constructed on the north side of the field near the area then occupied by Hawaiian Airlines, Ltd. 


Designed by architect Theodore A. Vierra, the new terminal would be made up of four separate units.  The main unit consisted of the overseas departure section and an administration building.  The Administration Building would provide office spaces for the Commission, the CAA, Weather Bureau, various overseas airlines, and other users. 


The Airport Control Tower was located on the two top floors.  The ground floor areas were for the overseas departure section.  The restaurant and the public lobby were also located in this section.  The other three units were a domestic overseas arrival section, a foreign arrival section, and an interisland section.


The terminal site plan provided space for other facilities, such as cargo and freight buildings, aircraft servicing and maintenance areas, aeronautical school, automobile service station, auto parking area for 4,200 cars, lei stands, and a heliport.


The development of the new terminal site was financed through Airport Revenue Bonds, Territorial General Obligation Bonds, and federal funds. 


The HAC contracted the services of Lockheed Air Terminal, Inc. for a study on the financial structure of the airport, and to recommend changes in rates and charges for the use of airport facilities so that future revenues would be adequate for the refunding of the obligations incurred in the construction and development of the new airport.


The Territorial Legislature enacted three joint resolutions to implement the development and expansion of Honolulu Airport.  These resolutions went before Congress and when enacted would authorize certain land exchanges between the Territory, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force for the development of the Honolulu International Airport complex (comprised of the Master Plan development of Honolulu International Airport by the Territory, Hickam Air Force Base by the U .S. Air Force and Keehi Lagoon by the U.S. Navy), the issuance of $14 million aviation revenue bonds by the Commission and would allow the HAC to lease land for a maximum period of 65 years.


In 1956 an agreement was reached with the military services and called for mutual transfer of real estate. It was signed by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Territory of Hawaii and the CAA.  It set up the only major joint-use airport in the United States with Hickam, HNAS, Fort Kamehameha and Honolulu International Airport to be used as a single airport complex.  The Hawaii Aeronautics Commission approved a new Master Terminal Site Plan for HNL in September 1956. Land for new jet terminal was acquired in 1958 at a cost of $5 million.


The Federal Government granted a 25 year lease for 248 acres while the Territory granted 25 year leases on 172 acres of land and 344 acres of submerged land for Naval aviation purposes. Sixty-seven acres of land was also acquired from the Damon Tract by eminent domain.



FY 1956-57

Appraisal of the Damon Tract area needed for the expansion of the airport was completed.  Condemnation proceedings to acquire the land were initiated by the Attorney General.

FY 1956-57

Preliminary work for the site preparation of the proposed terminal building was undertaken with the stockpiling of coral to be used for fill and


FY 1956-57

Demolition of buildings in the Naval Air Facility area was completed in preparation for work on the new terminal.

FY 1956-57

Runway 14-32 was permanently closed in order to permit the U.S. Navy to utilize the south end of the runway and the adjacent area for the repair and maintenance of Navy radar planes by Lockheed Aircraft Service.  This was one of the existing runways to be phased out in the development of the jet age airport and its closing did not curtain aircraft operations.

FY 1956-57

Emory B. Bronte, prominent local businessman and pioneer airman who made the first civilian plane flight with Ernest Smith from California to Hawaii in 1927, was appointed to the HAC.

FY 1956-57

Aircraft operations at Honolulu increased 26 percent over the preceding year, to a total of 245, 046 takeoffs and landings. 

FY 1956-57

For the first time, Honolulu International Airport was ranked with those on the mainland United States by the CAA in its Federal Airways Air Traffic Activity report for 1956 and placed 18th in this category.  At the end of the FY, Honolulu was in 14th place.

FY 1956-57

The Master Plan agreed upon by the Territory, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy called for a jet take-off runway to be constructed by the military.

FY 1956-57

The planning for the New Terminal Building continued in the planning stage with the estimated cost rising to $21,817,570.  The cost included allied facilities including land acquisition.

March 26, 1956

The painting of Hangar No. 9 was completed at a cost of $8,493.

June 6, 1956

The Baseyard Building, made of  pre-fabricated steel and steel-frame construction, was completed at a cost of $104,300.



The Territory was awarded possession of 67.288 acres of Damon Tract land required by the HAC for the site of the proposed terminal building and allied facilities at Honolulu International Airport. The land parcel, located on the north side of the airport, was condemned by the Commission through eminent domain proceedings and the amount paid for just compensation was determined by a jury trial in the Circuit Court.  The Commission deposited $3,586,000 with the clerk of the court as fair valuation for the land.


Earlier, the Territory and the federal government exchanged land parcels whereby the Territory was granted 25-year leases for 248 acres required for the master plan development of the jet-age airport.  In return, the Territory granted 25-year leases on 172 acres of land and 344 acres of submerged land to the federal government for Naval aviation purposes.


In preparation for the construction of the proposed Terminal Building, allied facilities and master plan development of Honolulu International Airport, the Commission engaged the services of Eastman Dillon Union Securities and Co. to handle the marketing of the $14 million in aviation revenue bond issue, authorized by Joint Resolution 32, Session Laws of Hawaii 1957.  Before the Commission could proceed with the sale of the bonds, Congressional authorization was required to exclude the bonds from the limitation imposed by the Organic Act upon the general obligation bond indebtedness of the Territory.   This was accomplished by Congressional bill P.L. 85-534 authorizing the issuance of aviation revenue bonds, the land exchange and leasing of land to air carriers for 55 years.  P.L. 85-534 was signed by the President on July 18, 1958.                   


The HAC hired Quinton Engineers to conduct an engineering feasibility study to determine the adequacy of the specifications of the proposed Terminal Building, allied facilities and the over-all airport development project to accomplish the intended purpose and to analyze the cost estimates for the master plan development of the airport. 


An economic feasibility study to determine the adequacy of estimated net revenue from the Aviation Fuel Tax and the operation of the Territorial airport system to repay the proposed bond issue was conducted for the HAC by Coverdale and Colpitts, consulting engineers.


The engineering and economic feasibility studies were requested by Eastman Dillon Union Securities and Co. and the reports were used in connection with the sale of the aviation revenue bonds.



December 12, 1957

Pavement  rehabilitation of Runway 8-26 was completed at a cost of $18,158.98.

FY 1957-58

Aircraft operations at Honolulu totaled 279,515 takeoffs and ladings for an increase of 14.1 percent over the preceding fiscal year.

FY 1957-58

With acquisition of necessary land areas accomplished by a land exchange agreement between the Federal government and the Territory and by condemnation of private land, site preparation and construction of the new terminal building for Honolulu International Airport was expected to proceed as follows:

Site Preparation

  • Final Plans, August 1958
  • Call for Bids, November 1958
  • Start of Work, January 1959


Terminal Building

  • Preliminary Plans Completed
  • Call for Bids, February 1959
  • Start of Work, March 1959
  • Opening of Terminal, February 1961

FY 1957-58

The firm of Wood, King and Dawson, attorneys and counselors at law, was engaged by the HAC to act as bond counsel and provide legal advice in the marketing of the bonds for construction of the new terminal.

FY 1957-58

Lockheed Air Terminal, Inc. airport consultant, prepared a scheduled of rates and charges to be applied to the new Terminal facilities.  The Commission adopted the proposed schedule and copies of the rates and charges were sent to all air carriers and tenants so that they could get an idea of what they would be charged for the use of the new terminal facilities.


During 1958 HNL began stockpiling 700,000 cubic yards of coral fill for the future new Terminal.

February 1, 1958

United Airlines set a record in a Honolulu to Los Angeles flight of 6 hours and 21 minutes.

February 25, 1958

United Airlines set a record in a Honolulu to San Francisco flight of 5 hours and 43 minutes.


Trans-­Pacific Airlines was purchased locally and renamed Aloha Airlines.



Construction of the jet-age facilities for Honolulu International Airport was started by the HAC on February 11, 1959.  Work progressed on the Site Preparation Stage 1 of the project for $1,079,150. 


On February 5, 1959, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark construction of this long-awaited construction project which will implement the Master Plan development of this airport.  Following the blessing of the ground by the Reverend Abraham K. Akaka, pastor of Kawaiahao Church, a small charge of dynamite was set off by William F. Quinn, Governor of Hawaii, to blast Honolulu into the commercial jet age.


Governor Quinn stated that this new “jet age facility is the first of our major public improvements when Hawaii becomes a state” and “a facility which Hawaii will be proud of.”


Voicing the sentiment of the people of Hawaii, Dr. Francis K. Sylva, chairman of the HAC, declared, “This is the day we have been waiting for, for a long, long time.”  He added that the delay until now in starting construction was a “blessing in disguise” in that the Commission “has been able to avoid making mistakes of other airports. . . The new terminal facilities will be the first in the nation to be built for the commercial jet-age from the ground up.”


Land required for the site of the new terminal facilities on the north side of the airport was acquired by condemnation of 67.288 acres of Damon Tract land.  Eminent domain proceedings in this condemnation suit were settled by an out-of-court compromise by the Attorney General’s Office.  Price paid for the land was $4,950,000, exclusive of appraisal, legal, court fees, and other costs.  Deed to this land was received by the Commission in October 1958.


Construction of the jet-age facilities was financed by the proceeds from the sale of $15 million Aviation Revenue Bonds and a $2,875,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Agency as federal aid participation.  The aviation revenue bonds were sold in New York on March 31, 1959.


The site preparation work included clearing, excavating, grading and getting the area ready for the construction of the interisland unit of the new terminal facilities.


Final plans for the next several stages of undertaking were completed by the Commission and transmitted to the Federal Aviation Agency for their approval.  These stages are:

  • Site Preparation, Stage 2
  • Interisland and Foreign Arrivals Section, Stage 3
  • Drainage and Underground Utilities, Stage 4
  • Administration and Overseas Departure Section, Stage 5


Meanwhile, in preparation for the imminent advent of commercial jet aircraft operation to Hawaii, the HAC authorized and completed certain improvements at the airport.


There was a sharp rise in foreign arrivals, both by commercial and military charter airlines.  This resulted in a slow down of U.S. Public Health, Immigration and Customs inspection because of inadequate space.  In order to remedy this situation and speed up the processing of foreign arrivals, the Commission undertook the expansion and modernization of this area.  As a result, planeloads of foreign arrivals were processed with less delay and in about half the time required previously.


The aircraft parking apron and taxiway in front of the Terminal Building were widened to provide essential room for jet aircraft parking and taxiing, and to prevent ingestion of harmful materials by the jet engines.



FY 1959

Runway 4R-22L underwent pavement rehabilitation.

FY 1959

The HAC discontinued operation of the metered auto parking facility in front of the terminal building and replaced it with an enclosed facility which was let out as a concession.  Constructing the enclosed auto parking facility also included realignment of the road in front of the Terminal Building.  Airport Parking Co. began operating this new parking system as a concession with a minimum guarantee of $75,000 per year.  For the benefit of employees at the airport, the HAC provided a free parking area near the Terminal Building.

FY 1959

The FAA completed installation of an instrument landing system (ILS) on the northeast end of the 13,104-foot Runway 8-26 as an aid to aircraft operational safety.

FY 1959

Act 132, Session Laws of Hawaii 1959, increased the HAC to 10 members by the addition of the Superintendent of Public Works as ex-officio voting member.

December 1958

Canadian Pacific Airlines introduced its Bristol Britannia jet-prop aircraft for service between Vancouver, B.C. and Australia, via Hawaii.

March 31, 1959

The $14 million Aviation Revenue Bonds, Series A, were sold on March 31, 1959, to finance construction of the new terminal building complex.  Sale of the bonds was handled by Eastman Dillon, Union Securities and Co.  Wood, King and Dawson, attorneys, acted as bond counsel.  The entire issue was purchased by C. J. Devine and Co. and Associates, and later sold to the public.  The bonds carried an interest rate of 4.30 percent per annum, payable semi-annually beginning January 1, 1960, and matured on July 1, 1984, unless recalled earlier by the HAC.

June 1959

Aloha Airlines introduced jet-prop Fairchild F-27s for service between the islands.  The aircraft’s high wing design gave each passenger an unobstructed view of Hawaii’s beauty.

June 30, 1959

The HAC terminated the services of Lockheed Air Terminal by mutual consent.  Lockheed conducted a study of the HAC’s operation of the Territorial Airport System.  The study found that the expansion program was soundly formulated, the planned facilities of the Terminal Building complex were adequate to handle the increase in passenger traffic and aircraft movements, the entire design had reasonable expansion capabilities, immediate action was urgently needed to handle jet aircraft service, and projected revenues over expenditures were sufficient to finance this expansion program.  Lockheed also prepared a schedule of rates and charges to be applied to the new Terminal Building complex, and rules and regulations for the operation of the airport.  Lockheed also provided consultant and guidance services relating to the planning, operation and maintenance of the Territorial Airport System, in negotiations with airlines and other users of airport facilities, in legislative matters, and in the sale of the aviation revenue bonds.


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