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Airport History

Lanai 1972

Lanai Airport 1972

An emergency landing strip was established on Lanai in 1919.


Inter-Island Airways, now Hawaiian Airlines, began operations in 1930 to Lanai with Sikorksy S-38, 8-passenger amphibious planes.  The field in use was sod and owned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company.


During 1935, the airline started to replace the S-38s with 16-passenger Sikorsky S-43s and in 1941 this equipment was replaced by 24-passenger Douglas DC-3s. The field in use was not big enough accommodate this type of equipment and once the last of the S-38s were put out of service shortly after the start of World War II, air service to Lanai came to a halt.


In1946 a new airport site was chosen and the land donated to the Territory by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company and air service was resumed.


On September 18, 1946, Hawaiian Airlines began operations into Lanai with Douglas DC-3s.  The field was an unpaved sod strip and as a result was practically unusable in wet weather and almost untenable due to dust and dirt in dry weather.


In view of these conditions, air service was not reliable and it was therefore decided to pave the runway and taxiway in 1948.  This was the first field constructed by the Hawaiian Aeronautics Commission with the assistance of federal funds appropriated under the Federal Airport Act.


Subsequently it was found that erosion caused by high winds and plane propeller blast was damaging the field, so a warm-up pad was constructed and the taxiways were widened.


In 1952, an air freight terminal building was constructed.


In 1955, the airport consisted of 59 acres of land, and had one paved runway, 3-21, which was 80-feet wide and 3,700-feet long.  Scheduled service was provided by Hawaiian Airlines, Ltd., and Trans-Pacific Airlines, Ltd. Andrew Flying Service provided unscheduled service.


The airport consisted of Hawaiian Airlines' passenger terminal building, a freight terminal building, paved runway and warm up areas, paved taxiway and apron, wind socks, field maintenance, and crash and fire protection.


Construction of a new passenger terminal building began on June 14, 1965 at Lanai Airport


Lanai Airport’s newly extended runway was dedicated on October 16, 1966.


The extension of the aprons and taxiways at Lanai Airport was completed in February 1992 at a cost of $4.9 million.


A new 4,000 square foot cargo building was opened in November 1992.


The Lanai Airport access road, parking and utilities were upgraded in January 1994.


A new 15,000 square foot $6.5 million Passenger Terminal Building was opened at Lanai Airport in January 1994.


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