When it comes to Hawaii, the airport you choose will of course depend on which island you’ll be visiting. Even then, some islands, like Maui and the Big Island, are served by several different airports, leaving travelers wondering which airport would suit their needs the most.
If you don’t have a choice as to which airport you’ll need to fly into, it is still good to be prepared so you’ll know what to expect. Use this guide to learn everything to know about Hawaii’s airports.
- Location: Honolulu, Oahu
- Best If: You’re staying on Oahu or need to make a pit stop on your way to a smaller island.
- Avoid If: Your final destination is not on Oahu.
- Distance to Pearl Harbor: Under five miles or about 10 minutes without traffic. To get there, you can take the 42, 40, or 51 bus line, or a taxi or rideshare for less than $25 if there isn’t much congestion on the roads.
As the state’s main airport, there’s a bigger chance that you’ll end up at Daniel K. Inoyu International Airport at some point during your trip than at any other. This airport was formerly known as Honolulu International Airport, so don’t be surprised if you hear it being referred to in this way.
Keep in mind that, between the fact that a majority of Hawaii’s visitors choose Oahu as their home base and many flights to outer islands stop in Honolulu along the way, this airport is busy. Be prepared for large crowds and long walks between gates.
Kahului Airport (OGG)
- Location: Kahului, Maui
- Best If: You’re looking for a cheaper non-stop flight from the mainland or you’re staying in Kihei.
- Avoid If: You’re staying near Hana or Lahaina and can score a ticket to the smaller airports in Hana or Kapalua.
- Distance to Maui Ocean Center: The Maui Ocean Center is a perfect pit stop before or after a Kahului flight. A taxi or rideshare will range between $30 and $45.
Kahului is the main city on Maui, so choosing this airport will give travelers a wide range of activities, restaurant options, and access to shops. Kahului is also the only option for those flying to Maui from other countries or the US mainland, and tends to be more budget-friendly thanks to having more flights available.
Hana Airport (HNM)
- Location: Hana, Maui
- Best If: You’re staying on the east side of Maui and don’t mind landing in a small airport.
- Avoid If: You’re not coming from an outer island.
- Distance to Haleakala National Park: You won’t find any taxis or rideshares on this side of the island, but a hotel shuttle or car rental are both options. Haleakala National Park takes up most of the center of Maui, but the entrance to the summit trail is located about 56 miles from the Hana Airport.
Flying straight into Hana is quite the experience; the tiny one-runway airport is located right between the ocean and the rainforest. Because it's so small, you won’t find a ticket to Hana Airport unless you’re flying from another Hawaiian island. Flights into Hana will most likely be more expensive and conducted on smaller 10-seater airplanes. If you’re staying in Hana town or anywhere on the rugged east side of Maui, the convenience of flying into this airport will often make up for higher prices.
Kapalua Airport (JHM)
- Location: Kapalua, Maui
- Best If: You’re staying in Lahaina or Kaanapali on the west side of Maui.
- Avoid If: You’re not coming from an outer island.
- Distance to Front Street: It is only about 6.5 miles from the airport to Lahaina’s touristy Front Street. A taxi will cost around $30 because of the traffic.
Kapalua is another of Maui’s small regional airports, and is really only worth it if you’re staying on the west side. Similarly to Hana Airport, flights into Kapalua are typically on smaller planes with a local commuter airline such as Mokulele Airlines.
- Location: Kona, Big Island
- Best If: You’re staying in Kailua-Kona or the Kohala Coast.
- Avoid If: Your accommodations are on the east side of the island, and you can find tickets to Hilo Airport
- Distance to Volcanoes National Park: Cabs are difficult to find on the Big Island, and seeing how the distance from the Kona Airport to the national park is more than 100 miles, you probably wouldn’t want to take one anyway. Opt for a rental car instead.
Kona Airport is the main airport on the island of Hawaii, and most visitors traveling to the Big Island for its famous beaches and large resorts end up staying on the west side. Just like on the other major islands besides Oahu, the Kona Airport has a limited number of flights from the US mainland and other countries.
Hilo International Airport (ITO)
- Location: Hilo, Big Island
- Best If: You’re staying on the east side of the Big Island.
- Avoid If: You’re coming from the US mainland or abroad.
- Distance to Volcanoes National Park: We highly recommend getting a rental car on the Big Island. Driving from the airport will take about 55 minutes or 36 miles without traffic.
Be prepared to stop in Honolulu unless you’re coming to Hilo from another island. This airport on the east side of Hawaii Island is closest to Volcanoes National Park, one of the state’s most exciting attractions. Since this island is pretty huge, many visitors choose to fly into Hilo to check out the volcanic park and nearby Akaka Falls State Park before heading to their resort on the Kona side.
Lanai City Airport (LNY)
- Location: Lanai
- Best If: You’re staying on the island of Lanai
- Avoid If: You’re looking for a big city vibe.
- Distance to Four Seasons Manele Bay: About 10 miles or 20 minutes without traffic. You’ll need a rental car to get around the island, though your hotel may provide airport transportation.
Lanai is one of the state’s smallest and least populated islands, so visitors don’t often go there for anything besides rest and relaxation. The island’s Four Seasons hotel is a popular spot, as well as nearby Sweetheart Rock and Shipwreck Beach. Lanai City Airport reflects its island with its size and ambiance, which is friendly and laid-back. Staying on Maui and want to check out Lanai? Skip the plane and opt for a 45-minute ferry from Lahaina Harbor.
Molokai Airport (MKK)
- Location: Molokai
- Best If: You’re staying on the island of Molokai.
- Avoid If: You’re looking for a lot of attractions.
- Distance to Kalaupapa National Historical Park: Just under 8 miles as the crow flies, though a guided tour is required to access the actual park. Renting a car is the best way to get there.
Molokai is similar to Lanai in ambiance and size, although it's slightly larger. Despite this, the island’s lone airport is still extremely small (as in, everything is located in one building). You aren’t going to find any non-stop flights from the US mainland or overseas to Molokai, so a stopover on another major island—typically Oahu—is required.
- Location: Lihue, Kauai
- Best If: You’re staying on the island of Kauai.
- Avoid If: Your hotel or accommodation is located on another island.
- Distance to Na Pali Coast Park: One of Kauai’s most beautiful attractions is located about 45 miles or 1.5 hours from the island’s airport. There are shuttles available that can take you there, or you can rent a car from the airport.
Located in East Kauai, Lihue Airport is the only major airport on the island of Kauai. While there are a few flights that head straight here from the US mainland, most visitors who are staying on Kauai end up going through Honolulu first.