Hilo Airport is one of my favorite airports. Not only is it close to my home, but also it has a number of beautiful potted anthurium plants growing along the covered walkway that leads out to the jet ways. Now that direct flights have resumed to the mainland from Hilo airport it is really convenient for me and my family to fly to the mainland again. Before the resumption of direct flights, going to the mainland meant a two hour drive to the Kona airport or flying in the opposite direction to Honolulu aiport and then flying from there to the mainland adding several hours to the five hour flight.
Hilo Airport is located on the east coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The Big Island of Hawaii has miles and miles of beaches, an active volcano, anthurium and macadamia nut farms, majestic mountains, rustic small towns and a jagged coastline with incredible views. And yes, it is the best town in the world, if I do say so, myself.
Hilo International Aiport, or ITO for short, (how it got this abbreviation, I have no clue) is located about two miles from the center of Hilo. It is nestled along the Hilo coast and is right next to the center of a ocean front community called Keaukaha. Airplanes fly right over the community and keep people up at night so it would be nice if there were fewer late night flights, but in any case over a million passengers use Hilo Airport each year.
Hilo airport is great because you can’t get lost here. It has a simply layout with the passenger terminal at the southern end of the landing strip. The passenger terminal consists of a single long building in the shape of a horizontal line. The parking, taxis and car rental stations are located immediately adjacent to the front of the terminal and everything is really easy to find. I get lost just about everywhere I go. I even get lost in the inside of Walmart, but I’ve never gotten lost at the Hilo Aiport. So I don’t think that you can get lost here either.
Hilo Airport Parking
Hilo Airport Parking Rates
Parking at the Hilo airport can sometimes get crowded, but since you are probably just visiting you won’t have to deal with this when you rent a car, but for a locals it can be an issue, but compared to some of the other airports I’ve been to it has some of the best parking rates that I have ever seen.
Ground Transportation at Hilo Airport
Hilo in general has almost no public transportation save a small bus service. There is no public transportation at Hilo airport so you have only a few options. Call a friend to pick you up. Rent a car or catch a taxi. Walk or hitchhike. That is about it when it comes to transportation options.
Which Airlines Fly to Hilo Airport?
As I said before direct flights to the mainland are available again at the Hilo Airport so this makes it really convenient again.
With the demise of Aloha Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines is the only major local carrier left. Other carriers include Continental and Delta.
History of Hilo Airport
Land for the Hilo Airport was appropriated by Norman Lyman back in 1925 who introduced a resolution to ask for 100 acres of land from the governor for an airfield in Keaukaha, Hilo. And they initially budgeted $10,000 to clear and level the land. That seems like a tiny amount of money to start work on an airport, doesn’t it? Back then they built the runway out of crushed white coral dredged from Hilo Wharf.
By 1935 two runways were completed along with a small prison camp to house the prisoners that were employed to build and maintain the airport.
In 1943 the name of the Hilo Airport was officially changed to General Lyman Field in honor of Brigadier General Albert Kualii Brickwood Lyman who was the first person of Hawaii ancestry to ever become a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army.
By 1944 a total of $2.7 million had been spent building the Hilo Airport, which is probably a far cry from what it would cost to build today.
Hilo Airport Facilities
Hilo airport has two runways. One is 5,600 feet long and the other is 9,800 feet long. When President Obama stays on Oahu a spare airplane is kept at Hilo Airport for him just in case there are problems with Air Force One. The spare airplane and Air Force One are exactly identical. Did you know that if the president flies in the spare plane it automatically becomes Air Force One, because whatever plane the president happens to be flying in is officially called Air Force One?
Hilo Airport Issues
One of the biggest issues with Hilo Airport is the level of noise at night. Hilo airport is located in the center of a community called Keaukaha and of course it is difficult to sleep at night with noisy airplanes flying overhead. Late night flights are obviously a touchy subject in the community here.
Who Owns Hilo Airport?
Hilo airport is owned and operated by the State of Hawaii. In its early days it used to be owned and operated by and for the U.S. military but it was eventually handed over to the state once commercial flights were allowed to commence here.
Weather at Hilo Airport
Weather at Hilo Airport is warm, but rainy with a chance of more rainy. All joking aside, Hilo is the rainiest city in the United States, so rain is frequently on the agenda. But at least it is warm rain. The average temperature here is usually between 70 and 80 degrees.