State unveils plan to build $1.1B concourse at Honolulu airport

State unveils plan to build $1.1B concourse at Honolulu airport
Updated: Feb. 13, 2018 at 5:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige on Tuesday announced plans for a new $1.1 billion, 800,000-square-foot Diamond Head concourse at Honolulu's airport.

It would replace the nearly 50-year-old concourse, add 12 to 14 wide body gates, a second international arrival facility with customs and border protection, an improved security checkpoint and a commuter terminal if needed.

"Most importantly, we would be able to bring our airports back up to international standards so our facilities don't fall further behind in the global competitive marketplace," Ige said.

The project is now headed for environmental review.

And officials expect the project will take about 10 years to complete.

Airline and concession revenues would pay for it, Ige said.

Plans for a new concourse come amid ongoing construction to consolidate the car rental facilities and modernization of the terminal.

Ige said the new concourse would accommodate increasing demand by multiple airlines to bring more flights to Hawaii.

Airline executives say they've been waiting for a new concourse for years. The peak times for the airport are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and that's when the tarmac can get pretty crowded.

"It can be frustrating. Our aircraft are sometimes able to land up to 30 minutes early. Customers get excited. They want to get started with their vacation and then there just isn't an available gate," said Brendan Baker, director of corporate real estate at United Airlines.

Meanwhile, the governor and airlines say completing the new concourse would be easier if the airports were managed by an airline corporation rather than the state. That idea failed in last year's legislative session.

"An airport corporation will enable this visionary investment in a new Diamond Head concourse to be managed well on time and on budget," said Matt Shelby, co-chair of the Arlines Committee of Hawaii.

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