Major changes at Maui’s main airport designed to alleviate congestion

Officials say around 26,000 travelers pass through the airport every day, surpassing pre-pandemic counts.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:48 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:08 PM HST
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KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Major changes are being made at Maui’s main airport to relieve the congestion.

Airport officials say approximately 26,000 travelers currently pass through Kahului Airport each day — surpassing pre-pandemic counts.

One of the changes is a dedicated TSA PreCheck checkpoint which consists of two lanes.

TSA officials said the new checkpoint takes approximately 200 passengers out of the standard checkpoint and allows all seven lanes of the standard checkpoint to be opened.

“We won’t have that build up. We anticipate not to have them on the curb in the near future. We have enough staffing to open all nine lanes,” said Acting TSA Federal Security Director for Hawaii Scot Thaxton. “We’ve got four dog teams — canines — that are so capable and their handlers are, that we can run them for a duration of three to four hours.”

Four canine teams have been added to help with TSA screening operations.

TSA Hawaii Spokesperson Lorie Dankers said the highly-skilled dogs are trained to detect explosives.

“They’re only trained to sniff explosives because explosive are the greatest threat against aviation,” Dankers said.

The TSA passenger screening explosive detection canine teams are among approximately 200 in the country. The Kahului Airport and the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu are the only airports with canine teams in the state.

In addition, TSA officials say they have upgraded their equipment, which reduces the number of bag checks that are required and speeds up the process.

“Today is great. I’m really encouraged. I don’t have to stand and wait in line,” said Haiku resident Aaron Stice.

They are also in the beginning stages of adding a new TSA checkpoint at the south end of the airport near the ticket counters. That checkpoint will consist of five additional lanes.

“So we’ll see a balance, if you will, on passengers on both sides of the terminal. Whereas now, everybody is just congested to that one terminal entrance that goes through the escalator and up to the second level,” said Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz.

They hope to start construction for it sometime in 2024.