Lihue Airport

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Lihue Airport
Kahua Mokulele o Līhuʻe
Runway 3-21 and the passenger terminal in background; fire station in foreground.
Airport type Public
Owner State of Hawaii
Operator Department of Transportation
Serves Kauai
Location Lihue, Hawaii
Elevation AMSL 153 ft / 47 m
Coordinates 21°58′34″N 159°20′20″W / 21.97611°N 159.33889°W / 21.97611; -159.33889
Direction Length Surface
ft m
3/21 6,500 1,981 Asphalt
17/35 6,500 1,981 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 64 20 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 2,680,028
Aircraft operations 128,425
Based aircraft 24

Lihue Airport (IATA: LIHICAO: PHLIFAA LID: LIH) is a state-owned public-use airport located in the Līhuʻe CDP on the southeast coast of the island of Kauaʻi in Kauai County, Hawaiʻi, United States, two nautical miles east of the center of the CDP.[1][3]

The airport does not serve as a hub for any airline carrier. Numerous inter-island flights are available daily. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines both operate Boeing 757s between Lihue and their mainland destinations. Alaska Airlines and WestJet operate Boeing 737-800s between Lihue and their mainland destinations; while Hawaiian Airlines uses Boeing 717s for its inter-island routes to Honolulu and Kahului. United Airlines uses both 757s and 737-800s to serve its mainland destinations. Along with its regional jet service, Hawaiian Airlines also serves Lihue Airport with Boeing 767s for seasonal services to Oakland and Los Angeles.

The airport is mostly un-walled and open-air, and the check-in is completely outside. The airport is the primary gateway to Kauai for visitors (especially tourists), and has several rental car facilities. Four motion pictures have filmed scenes at the Lihue Airport: Honeymoon in Vegas, Six Days Seven Nights, Soul Surfer, and The Descendants.

It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility.[4]

Facilities and aircraft[edit]

Lihue Airport covers an area of 915 acres (370 ha) at an elevation of 153 feet (47 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt paved runways designated 3/21 and 17/35, each measuring 6,500 by 150 feet (1,981 x 46 m). The airport also has one helipad measuring 64 by 64 feet (20 x 20 m).[1]

For the 12-month period ending on May 31, 2005, the airport had 104,276 aircraft operations, an average of 285 per day: 48% air taxi, 26% scheduled commercial, 23% general aviation and 2% military. At that time there were 28 aircraft based at this airport: 43% single-engine, 7% multi-engine and 50% helicopter.[1]

On a typical day, certain gates are used for certain airlines to arrive in and depart out of the Lihue Airport. Gates 9-10 are mostly used by United Airlines, flying Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737-900ER aircraft along with occasionally using Boeing 757-200. Gates 7-8 are mostly used by Delta Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and WestJet. Hawaiian Airlines uses both Boeing 717 and Boeing 767-300ER for gates 4 and 5-6 for their inter-island and US mainland flights, according to the airline staff. American Airlines mostly uses Gate 3, using Airbus A321 and Boeing 757-200 to fly in and out of Lihue. Island Air passengers board and deplane via tarmac. All gate areas are air-conditioned and gate assignment do change on occasion.

Lihue Airport runway needs to be extended to comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules. The Garden Island reports one of the airport's two runways ends just a few hundred feet from the ocean, with no room for a necessary buffer. State Department of Transportation Deputy Director Ford Fuchigami said the runway will be extended to ensure proper clearance. The airport recently received more than $400,000 in airport capital improvement funds for the reconfiguration. A spokesman for Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the southwest end of the runway will be extended by 855 feet, while still providing the standard 1,000-foot runway safety area for the northeast end of the runway. Abercrombie spokesman Justin Fujioka said the project is estimated to be completed in November 2016.[citation needed]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The terminal
Inside the airport terminal
Airlines Destinations
Alaska Airlines Oakland, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Portland (OR)
American Airlines Los Angeles, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Delta Air Lines Los Angeles, Seattle/Tacoma (begins December 21, 2017)[5]
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu, Kahului, Kailua-Kona (begins March 12, 2017)[6]
Seasonal: Los Angeles, Oakland
Island Air Honolulu
United Airlines Los Angeles, San Francisco
Seasonal: Denver
WestJet Seasonal: Vancouver


Top domestic destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from LIH
(Nov 2015 – Oct 2016)
Rank City Passengers Airlines
1 Honolulu, HI 637,000 Hawaiian, Island
2 Los Angeles, CA 225,000 American, Delta, Hawaiian, United
3 Kahului, HI 135,000 Hawaiian
4 Seattle, WA 89,000 Alaska
5 San Francisco, CA 66,000 United
6 Phoenix, AZ 59,000 American
7 Oakland, CA 42,000 Alaska, Hawaiian
8 San Diego, CA 32,000 Alaska
9 San Jose, CA 29,000 Alaska
10 Portland, OR 15,000 Alaska

Public transport[edit]

The Kauaʻi Bus route 70 connects the airport to downtown Lihue.


  1. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Master Record for LIH (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2015-04-30
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Lihue CDP, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  4. ^ "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Hawaiian Airlines to Begin Nonstop Service Between Kaua'i and Hawai'i Island" (Press release). Hawaiian Airlines. January 12, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  7. ^,%20HI:%20Lihue%20Airport&carrier=FACTS

External links[edit]