HONOLULU (AP) — After years of planning, a $739 million project to expand and modernize Honolulu Airport is underway.
The airport is the fourth largest port of entry to the United States and is long overdue for an expansion, said Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney.
“We are a world-class destination,” he said. “We deserve a world-class airport.”
The four-year project was to be launched in a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon.
The project will begin with a new maintenance building for Aloha Air Cargo.
When construction wraps up, travelers using the main gateway at the airport to the islands will see two more concourses. There also will be a large central building for the airport’s rental car companies and wider taxiways to accommodate larger planes, as well as other upgrades.
“The Honolulu International Airport should reflect that Hawaii is the anchor of the Asia-Pacific region,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. The expansion “represents a historic investment to help ensure a welcoming and positive experience for visitors and residents alike.”
The airport served more than 7.6 million passengers in 2012 and has hovered around 8 to 10 million passengers annually since 2000, according to federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics.