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Passenger count hits new high

LIHU‘E — A wave of visitors to the island of Kaua‘i in November lifted the passenger count into rarefied air at Lihu‘e Airport, which set an annual record for the number of deplanements with one month to go in 2022.

A total of 68,479 deplaned from domestic flights at the airport in November, compared with 65,549 in November 2021, according to data compiled by the state Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism.

That brought the number of deplanements to 835,105 for the 11-month period ended Nov. 30. That marked the first time the passenger count has surpassed 800,000 for an annual period at the airport, according to records dating back to 2009.

The previous high of 772,705 was set in 2018, followed by 770,934 in 2019, department data showed. Data is subject to revision.

“Looks like Kaua‘i’s visitor numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels, at least on a seasonally adjusted basis,” said Carl Bonham, executive director of the Economic Research Organization of the University of Hawai‘i, on the driving force behind rising passenger counts.

Visitors have been flocking to Kaua‘i in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by passenger deplanements being up every month this year when compared to the same months of 2021.

The busiest month of the year, thus far, was July, when 96,227 passengers deplaned from domestic flights, followed by June with 95,824 and August at 83,331.

Neighboring islands also posted solid totals last month, with all but one seeing an increase in counts. O‘ahu, as per usual, recorded the highest number of passenger deplanements at 408,050 in November, which was up from 373,284 in November 2021.

A total of 177,597 deplaned from domestic flights on Maui in November, up from 170,834 in November 2021. And, 80,209 passengers deplaned on Hawai‘i Island last month, compared with 86,790 in November 2021. The average daily totals worked out to 13,602 on O‘ahu, 5,920 on Maui, 2,674 on Hawai‘i Island and 2,283 on Kaua‘i.

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Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or whaupt@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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