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Holiday rush is on at Big Isle airports

Big Island airports have been busy amid the holidays with nearly 21,000 trans-Pacific arrivals between Sunday and Wednesday.

The 20,996 people who’ve flown to the Big Island between Sunday and Wednesday afternoon account for about 15.5% of 135,816 travelers arriving across the state, according to data provided by the Hawaii Safe Travels Program. About 15% of the trans-Pacific travelers arriving in Hawaii and 12.4% arriving on the Big Island were residents.

The number of arriving trans-Pacific travelers is up nearly 41% from the same four-day period in 2020 when 14,892 people arrived on the island. Daily arrival data is not available prior the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020.

Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole welcomed the majority of trans-Pacific travelers coming to the Big Island with 17,863 arrivals during the four-day period. Hilo International Airport saw 735 arrivals with the remainder of travelers arriving first at other airports in the state before traveling to the island.

On Wednesday alone, the island saw 5,901 people arrive from outside the state, with 5,247 of them listed as visitors. Some 4,964 flew directly into Kona and and 183 into Hilo.

Another 4,678 passengers are registered to fly to the Big Island Thursday followed by nearly 6,800 passengers set to arrive Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Nationwide, a whopping 1,979,089 travelers were recorded at checkpoints by the Travel Security Administration on Tuesday, the most recent data available. The figure is just under the 1,981,433 travelers checked on the day in 2019, before the pandemic took hold, and nearly double the number 992,167 travelers in 2020.

The state Department of Transportation earlier this work warned travelers of limited parking at both Big Island airports due to an anticipated increase in airline passengers.

The department asked anyone traveling this season to consider getting dropped off by family, friends, taking a taxi, or ride sharing service.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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