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Lihue Airport


Lihue, Hawaii, USA

City Lihue Country/Region USA (US)

Airport (Part 139 Class I)

Hub for
Latitude 21.976 Longitude -159.339
Time Zone -10:00 Phone Number (808) 274-3800


Lihue Airport (IATA code: LIH, ICAO code: PHLI), is a public-use airport located in the Lihue area, which is on the southeast coast of Kauai Island in Hawaii, U.S.A. American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines all operate flights out of LIH to locations in the U.S mainland. The airport also serves numerous inter-island flights daily. The airport has a completely outdoor check in area, and is largely un-walled. LIH is the primary gateway for visitors and tourists to Kauai island.

Quick Summary:

 Lihue Airport (IATA code: LIH, ICAO code: PHLI) is a national airport just outside of the Lihue area in Hawaii, United States

DCA primarily serves flights to airports in United States, with internal flights limited to Canada and certain Caribbean countries

● Due to its proximity to the U.S capital, DCA faces unique operational challenges on account of numerous restricted airspaces and some of the strictest noise pollution laws in the Americas


Lihue Airport is situated about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) east of Lihue, with coordinates 21° 58′ 34″ N, 159° 20′ 20″ W. It has an elevation of 153 feet (47 m) above mean sea level.


In 1944 the Civil Aeronautics Administration deemed the old Port Allen Airport too small to accommodate even two-engine planes, and due to its location on a small peninsula bounded on three sides by the ocean, it could never be enlarged. The CAA was unwilling to spend any money on restoring Port Allen after the war, but was willing to receive an application for a major new airport at another site. A Class IV airport was proposed, which was required to have two runways, graded 5,200 feet long and 500 feet wide, and paved 5,000 feet long and 200 feet wide, with all necessary fencing, lighting, drainage and other useful ground development, as well as a small temporary office building.

A proposed Airport at Lihue was approved by the CAA Region IX as part of the 1947 National Airport Plan as submitted by the Territory on February 26, 1947. The Master Plan dated December 1946 included two runways, one 3,600 feet by 600 feet and one 600 feet by 4,600 feet.

Funds in the amount of $115,000 were provided by Act 153, Session Laws of Hawaii 1945, for the acquisition of lands and by Act 23, Session Laws of Hawaii 1947, $270,000 was provided for construction. The CAA matched the construction funds and 25 percent of the land acquisition costs.

During the 2000s, Lihue Airport underwent the following renovations:

● Phase I of the Apron Site Preparation and Road Realignment was completed in September 2001. Cost: $15.5 million.

● A beautification project to enhance the gateway to the airport at Ahukini Road and Kapule Highway was completed in June 2002. Cost: $5.4 million.

● Act 200, SLH 2003, appropriated $9 million for construction of a heliport; and $2.5 million for baggage claim improvements.

● A three-bay storage facility and an extension was made to the airport maintenance baseyard in October 2003. Cost: $1.6 million.

● Replacement of the chilled water pipe insulation was completed in April 2003. Cost: $391,000.

● Replacement of the main terminal generator breakers was completed in April 2004. Cost: $73,000.

● The public address system was upgraded in September 2009. Cost: $695,500.

● Act 41, SLH 2004, appropriated $9 million for construction of a heliport; and $2.5 million for baggage claim improvements.

● On October 1, 2004 the FAA granted authority to impose and collect passenger facility charges (PFC) at the airport. The PFC revenue was utilized for FAA approved projects.

● Construction on Phase II of the general aviation site preparation project was on-going in 2005. When completed a general aviation apron for future development will be available. Cost: $14 million.

● Architectural barriers were removed in July 2005. Cost: $440,000.

● New loading bridges were installed in September 2005. Cost: $4.5 million.

● Act 160, SLH 2006, appropriated $4.3 million for construction of a perimeter road and airfield fence; $1.2 million for the restoration of the Ahukini Dump; $17.1 million for land acquisition of a 173 acre parcel north of Ahukini Road; $5.1 million for construction improvements to baggage facilities; $6.7 million for air conditioning system replacement; and $17 million for construction of an inline baggage system improvement.

● Security issues remained a primary concern in 2006. The TSA and the airport continued their partnership to improve the passenger checkpoint and baggage screening process without adversely impacting the passenger flow. There are plans to 20.reconfigure the baggage screening as well as the ticket lobby. The baggage screening equipment currently located in the ticket lobby will be relocated behind the walls and integrated with the conveyor system. This will relieve the congestion in the ticket lobby and the baggage screening portion of the check in process will appear seamless to the passengers.

● Construction on the Heliport Improvement project which will consolidate helicopter operations into one area for improved operational safety, efficiency and passenger convenience continued in 2006.

● Act 213, SLH 2007, appropriated $3.2 million for construction of additional parking spaces.

● Heliport improvements were completed in October 2007. Cost: $8.3 million.

● Act 158, SLH 2008, appropriated $3.1 million for parking lot expansion; $6.4 million for inline baggage system improvements; $784,000 for restoration of Ahukini Dump; and $1.9 million for a security access control and close circuit television system.

● The perimeter road and fence were upgraded. Cost: $4.6 million.

Facility and Operations:

LIH is roughly 915 acres (370 ha) and is home to 8 gates. In 2017, the airport saw 129,572 total operations, with 2,832,281 passengers (2016) passing through the airport.

Other airport facilities include two runways (6,500′ x 150′), taxiways, aprons, navigational aids (ILS, VORTAC, DME and PAPI), airport traffic control tower, and helipads.

Gates 9-10 are mostly used by United Airlines, with Alaska Airlines using gate 9 occasionally as well.

Gates 7-8 are primarily used by Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines and WestJet.

Hawaiian Airlines uses both gates 3-4 and 5-6 for their inter-island and US mainland flights.

American Airlines mostly uses Gate 3 and occasionally Gate 4.

Hawaii Airlines also operates a premier lounge at the airport, which is open for first class travellers.

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