Leaking ceiling closes security checkpoint at Honolulu airport - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Leaking ceiling closes security checkpoint at Honolulu airport

Long lines at TSA checkpoint Long lines at TSA checkpoint
Security Checkpoint No. 3 is closed for repairs Security Checkpoint No. 3 is closed for repairs
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The largest security checkpoint at Honolulu International Airport's main overseas terminal is closed because of a leaky ceiling.

The closure could mean longer wait times for passengers now diverted for Transportation Security Administration screenings at other checkpoint areas. And some passengers have reported missing their flights because of the security delays.

Airport staff said TSA checkpoint no. 3 was closed a few weeks ago after heavy rains revealed the leak. Checkpoint no.3 is located next to the Japan Airlines counters in the overseas main terminal.

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said checkpoint no.3 has six "fixed" screening lanes, which make up nearly half of the total 13 lanes spread across a handful of checkpoints in the main terminal.

Repairs to the ceiling are underway, and in the meantime, officials are trying to keep the lines moving.

"We are doing all we can to help passengers during the ongoing repairs," said Melendez.

Melendez said passengers are being sent to two smaller checkpoints: One has two screening lanes and a second has three lanes. A third checkpoint is being opened on an "as needed" basis to alleviate long waits.

Travelers headed overseas either on domestic or international flights are advised to be at the airport three hours ahead of their scheduled departure time to ensure they don't miss their flights.

According to Melendez, the airport is handling the repairs, and though he doesn't know the exact date checkpoint no.3 will reopen, airport staff indicated sometime later this month.

Hawaii News Now learned about the main checkpoint closure while investigating social media complaints of reportedly long security lines at the airport.

It turned out images of the extensive lines were taken this week at the interisland terminal, which often has long lines running out the door, according to frequent travelers.

Melendez said a possible increase in peak-hour travelers, limited line-queuing space and travelers not arriving early could all be contributing to long lines in the interisland terminal.

According to Melendez, about 10,000 passengers a day are processed through six available TSA lanes at that terminal.

Four of those are located in the middle of the terminal with two other single lanes available on each side of the terminal. The single lanes are opened during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The average wait time during peak hours is about 15 minutes, with 10 minutes for non-peak travel.

Around 6 a.m. today, noticeably long lines started to form out of the terminal door located about 100 feet away. This is well ahead of peak travel, and several travelers reported they'd been waiting about 20-25 minutes in line. That exceeds the average 10-minute wait for that period.

TSA and Hawaiian Airlines personnel eventually came out to help move things along, directing passengers to available space in the security area. Melendez said they work to staff the TSA operations based on advanced notice by the carriers of their flight loads.

Melendez said, "Our goal is to get people through the lines as quickly as possible."

He also passengers headed for the interisland terminal should arrive at least two hours ahead of neighbor island departures and three hours in advance for Hawaiian's mainland flights.

Here's a video of the long interisland terminal lines:

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