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History of Aviation on Maui

A history of aviation and airports on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

1919 An emergency landing strip was established on Maui.
1920 Charles Fern carried the first pay passenger interisland from Kapiolani Park to a polo field in Makawao. However, between Molokai and Maui, Fern’s gas gauge malfunctioned, indicating an empty tank and forced him to land in a pasture near the Cookie Ranch office on Molokai. After refueling, he headed for Maui. Unable to locate the polo field, he landed instead at the fair grounds in Kahului.
1923 Aviator Charles Stoffer in "Charley’s Crate" delivered the Sunday newspaper to Molokai then Maui, landing at Camp One near Spreckelsville.
1925  Maui received a $15,000 appropriation for acquisition of land for an airport in Maalaea.
1929 Commercial interisland air service was started by Inter-Island Airways (now Hawaiian Airlines) on November 11 with two Sikorsky Amphibians, the "Hawaii" and "Maui". The inaugural flight was from Honolulu to Hilo, landing at Maalaea Field en route.
1930 Runways at Maalaea were set-up and extended using prison labor.
1934  Inter-Island Airways was awarded an airmail contract on October 8.
1935  Inter-Island Airways began service to a small grass field located in Hamoa, Maui–the original Hana Airport.
1936 Studies were conducted for a new airport site on Maui.
1938 Maalaea airfield was condemned; only small aircraft were permitted to land there.

Construction of a new Maui Airport began on June 1 (later to become Puunene Airport).

1939 Puunene Airport is gradually enlarged and improved from June 30, 1939 to December 7, 1941. A small Naval Air Facility was established there.
1941 The military began expansion of Puunene Airport.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, all airports in Hawaii were taken over by the military.

1942 Construction was started on a Naval Air Station in Kahului (later to be named Kahului Airport) as the Navy found it necessary, due to the war, to establish another large air station on Maui.
1947 The Hawaii Aeronautics Commission was formed by the Legislature and jurisdiction of all territorial airports were transferred to it.

The Naval Air Station Kahului (NASKA) offered the use of its Kahului Field to the Territory of Hawaii in December. The Territory was able to secure a 20-year permit for the facility.

1948  Two contracts were awarded for grading and fencing at Hana Airport.
1949 Fencing, runway, taxiway and terminal paving began in October at Hana Airport.
1950 Hana Airport was opened on November 11.
1951 Airline operations were transferred from Puunene Airport to Kahului Airport on May 25.
1958 A new tower and control building were completed on October 2 at Kahului.
1963 Drinking water no longer needed to be trucked to Hana Airport as a water system was completed on March 19.
1965  Groundbreaking for a new terminal building at Kahului Airport was held on February 1.
1966 Dedication ceremonies were held on June 25 for the new Kahului Airport terminal.
1974  New security fencing was installed to meet FAA requirements.
1975 Charter flights from the Mainland began arriving in Kahului.
1983 Scheduled direct flights began arriving at Kahului.
1984 Interim modifications were made to the Kahului terminal facility. Phase I involved covering the open court area in the terminal.

A new roadway and parking system for ground transportation was completed in December. Ground transportation facilities were relocated to a separate area of the airport.

1985 Three new baggage claim devices were constructed and opened in January.

Modifications to the existing baggage claim areas, new ground transportation facilities for U-Drive operators, new restrooms, and relocation of concession and gift shop facilities were completed in April.

Design of a new Kahului Airport Terminal Complex began. Consisting of three phases, the $36.5 million complex will take five years to complete. Work includes additions and alterations to existing structures, roads, parking areas, aprons, a new terminal, taxiways, runways, landscaping, cargo terminal and relocation of the FAA tower. Support facilities include a new helipad and cargo terminal.

1987 The new $2.3 million Commuter Terminal was dedicated on January 15. The facility can accommodate eight commuter operators and aircraft up to twin otters.

East Ramp Improvements which subdivided the area for scenic flight aviation and helicopter use was completed.

Site preparation work for a future postal service building was completed.

Additional parking spaces were completed.

1988 Construction of aircraft hard stands was completed.

A ground breaking ceremony was held on July 14 for the new Terminal Building at Kahului Airport.

Dedication of the new FAA tower was held on December 16.

1989 Work to furnish and install eight aircraft loading bridges for the new terminal building began in February.
1990 The new $42.6 million Kahului Airport Terminal Building was dedicated on October 17 and operations began on October 18. The new terminal has 267,000 square feet and includes an 82,000 sq. ft. ticketing terminal, group tour bus terminal and group baggage drop off, and a 78,000 sq. ft. two-story Central Building which houses the airport administration offices, hold rooms, jetways, restaurant and concessions.
1991 A new 500,000 square foot runway safety area, with a 2,000 square foot blast pad at the south end of Runway 2-20 was completed in April.

The old terminal was converted into a baggage claim facility, with five carousels, a flight information display board and airline baggage service counters.

Runway improvements around the terminal were also constructed.

1993 Construction of four additional hold rooms and 12 aircraft gates was completed in February.
1994 Kahului Airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Facility was relocated on May 27.

The state undertook a Federal-State EIS to lengthen the runway at Kahului. All construction was delayed until the EIS is completed.

1995 Work began on January 18 to relocate the Very High Frequency Omnidirection Radio Range/Tactical Air Navigation System (VORTAC).
1998 A Record of Decision was made on August 26 on the Kahului Environmental Impact Statement by the FAA giving unconditional approval to all projects except for the long-range projects. Mitigation measures include an Alien Species Action Plan.

The theme developed for Multi-Cultural improvements at the airport is Legends of Maui: the Demigod.

See also:
- Introduction to Maui's Airports
- Air Travel in Hawaii

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