State Department of Transportation officials say all airports are open and they will do everything in their power to keep them open, even once Hurricane Iselle makes landfall.
"For right now it's basically premature for us to make any determination. We're going to go to civil defense tomorrow (Friday, August 8) at 8 a.m. and get the latest update. Based on that information, we'll make an assessment as it gets closer to the Hawaiian Islands," said Ford Fuchigami, the interim Director of Transportation.
Officials say because Hawai'i's economy is dependent on air transportation, the state airports are typically always open for business. While they may need to temporarily close runways and certain areas for repairs or to remove debris as needed, they make every effort to keep operations running. Officials say they're taking every safety precaution and closely monitoring conditions on all islands.
Island Air announced late Wednesday afternoon it will cancel flights to Maui Lana'i starting Thursday afternoon and throughout the day Friday "out of concern for the safety of its guests and employees due to the impending impacts of Hurricane Iselle". Customers who are ticketed for travel on Island Air from August 7, 2014 through August 12, 2014, will be permitted to change their flight without charge by contacting reservations.
Hawaiian Airlines extended the same courtesy for their passengers Tuesday.
As for whether or not flights get canceled, airport officials confirm the decision to fly is left up to each air carrier. They decide if wind speeds meet their aircraft performance limits.
Officials recommend anyone with travel plans through Sunday, August 10 call their airline before heading to the airport. They also want to remind visitors and residents, airports are not emergency shelters.