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If you’re wondering if Honolulu International Airport is busy, the short answer is yes, it is one of the busiest airports in the United States. In this comprehensive article, we’ll take an in-depth look at Honolulu International Airport’s traffic numbers, busiest travel seasons, busiest times of day, and how its activity compares to other major U.S. airports.

We’ll also discuss what makes Honolulu International so busy, from tourism to its function as a major hub airport. By the end, you’ll have a full understanding of just how much activity goes through Hawaii’s main airport.

Honolulu International Airport’s Passenger Traffic

Annual Passenger Numbers

Honolulu International Airport, located in the beautiful state of Hawaii, is one of the busiest airports in the United States. Each year, it welcomes millions of travelers from all around the world. According to the official statistics provided by the Hawaii Department of Transportation, the airport served a total of 21.3 million passengers in 2019. This impressive number reflects the airport’s importance as a major hub for both domestic and international travel.

Growth Trends

Over the past decade, Honolulu International Airport has experienced a steady increase in passenger traffic. In 2010, the airport served approximately 17.1 million passengers, indicating a remarkable growth of over 24% in just 9 years. This upward trend can be attributed to various factors, including the growing popularity of Hawaii as a tourist destination and the airport’s efforts to expand its capacity to accommodate more flights and passengers.

The airport has witnessed significant growth in both domestic and international passenger numbers. In recent years, the increase in international travelers has been particularly noteworthy. With its strategic location in the Pacific, Honolulu International Airport serves as a major gateway for travelers coming from Asia, Australia, and other parts of the world. The airport has seen a surge in flights from cities like Tokyo, Seoul, and Sydney, contributing to the overall growth in international passenger traffic.

International vs. Domestic Traffic

While the majority of passengers at Honolulu International Airport are still domestic travelers, the proportion of international passengers has been steadily increasing. In 2019, international travelers accounted for approximately 30% of the total passenger traffic. This growing trend highlights the airport’s role as a key link between Hawaii and the rest of the world.

It’s important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on passenger traffic at Honolulu International Airport in 2020 and subsequent years. The travel restrictions and reduced demand for air travel resulted in a sharp decline in overall passenger numbers. However, as the world gradually recovers from the pandemic, it is expected that the airport’s passenger traffic will bounce back and continue to grow in the coming years.

For more information about Honolulu International Airport’s passenger traffic and other related statistics, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

Honolulu International’s Busy Travel Seasons

Honolulu International Airport, located in the beautiful state of Hawaii, is one of the busiest airports in the United States. The airport serves as a gateway to the tropical paradise of Honolulu and the surrounding islands. Understanding the busy travel seasons at Honolulu International is essential for both travelers and airport officials.

Peak Tourist Season

The peak tourist season in Honolulu coincides with the summer months, typically from June to August. During this time, the airport experiences a significant increase in passenger traffic as visitors from around the world flock to the island. The warm weather, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture make Honolulu a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers.

During the peak tourist season, the airport bustles with activity as vacationers arrive and depart. Long lines at security checkpoints and crowded terminals are common sights. It is advisable to arrive at the airport well in advance to allow for ample time to check-in, pass through security, and navigate the bustling airport.

According to data from the Honolulu International Airport Authority, the number of flights and passengers during the peak tourist season can increase by up to 30% compared to other months. This surge in travelers can lead to delays and congestion, so it is important to plan accordingly and be patient.

Slow Season

Contrary to the peak tourist season, the slow season at Honolulu International occurs during the winter months, typically from November to February. This period sees a decrease in tourist arrivals, resulting in a quieter airport environment.

During the slow season, travelers can enjoy shorter lines, less crowded terminals, and a more relaxed atmosphere. This can be an advantageous time to visit Honolulu for those seeking a peaceful and less hectic experience.

Despite the decrease in tourist activity, Honolulu International Airport remains operational throughout the year, providing essential services to both residents and visitors. Airlines continue to offer flights to and from the airport, although at a reduced frequency compared to the peak season.

It is worth mentioning that the slow season does not mean the airport becomes completely devoid of passengers. Honolulu is a popular destination for winter sun seekers, and many travelers take advantage of the milder climate during this time.

Busiest Times of Day at Honolulu International


When it comes to the busiest times of day at Honolulu International Airport, mornings are typically quite busy. Between the hours of 7 AM and 9 AM, there is a surge of travelers arriving at the airport to catch their early morning flights. This is especially true on weekdays, as many business travelers and commuters are trying to get to their destinations.

During these peak morning hours, it’s important to arrive at the airport well in advance to allow for check-in, security screening, and boarding. Long lines at security checkpoints are not uncommon during this time, so be sure to plan accordingly to avoid any unnecessary stress or delays.


The afternoons and evenings at Honolulu International Airport can also be quite busy, especially during the peak travel seasons. From around 3 PM to 6 PM, there is a significant increase in passenger traffic as many flights depart for various destinations.

This can lead to crowded terminals, longer wait times at check-in counters, and potentially delayed flights. It’s always a good idea to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare, especially during these busy hours. Use this time to explore the airport’s amenities, grab a bite to eat, or do some last-minute shopping before your flight.

For more information on the busiest times at Honolulu International Airport, you can visit the airport’s official website They provide real-time flight information, travel tips, and updates on any delays or disruptions that may affect your travel plans.

How Busy is Honolulu International Compared to Other U.S. Airports?

When it comes to measuring the busyness of an airport, two key factors are often considered: passenger traffic and the number of flights. Honolulu International Airport, located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is no exception. Let’s take a closer look at how it stacks up against other airports in the United States in terms of both passenger traffic and the number of flights.

By Passenger Traffic

Honolulu International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States in terms of passenger traffic. In 2019, it served over 21 million passengers, according to the Hawaiian Airlines website. This makes it the 29th busiest airport in the country. The airport’s popularity can be attributed to its strategic location as a major gateway to and from Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the mainland United States.

However, it’s important to note that 2020 and 2021 have seen a significant decline in passenger traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many airports, including Honolulu International, have experienced a decrease in the number of passengers traveling. As travel restrictions ease and vaccinations increase, it is expected that passenger numbers will gradually return to pre-pandemic levels.

By Number of Flights

In terms of the number of flights, Honolulu International Airport is also a busy hub. It operates an average of 700 flights per day, offering connections to over 30 domestic and international destinations. The airport serves as a major hub for several airlines, including Hawaiian Airlines, which has its headquarters in Honolulu.

Compared to other major U.S. airports, Honolulu International ranks among the top 30 in terms of the number of flights. It is worth noting that the number of flights can vary throughout the year, with peak travel seasons experiencing higher volumes of flights.

So, while Honolulu International Airport may not be the busiest airport in the United States, it certainly holds its own in terms of passenger traffic and the number of flights. Whether you’re traveling to or from Hawaii, you can expect a bustling airport that connects the island paradise to the rest of the world.

Why is Honolulu International So Busy?

Honolulu International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States and serves as a major gateway for travelers to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. There are several key factors that contribute to the airport’s bustling atmosphere and constant flow of passengers.

Tourism Draw of Hawaii

One of the main reasons for the high traffic at Honolulu International Airport is the immense popularity of Hawaii as a tourist destination. With its stunning beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture, Hawaii attracts millions of visitors each year. The airport serves as the primary point of entry for these tourists, leading to a significant influx of travelers.

The allure of Hawaii extends beyond mainland visitors. The islands also attract a large number of international tourists from countries all over the world. These travelers often choose to fly into Honolulu International Airport due to its convenient connections and numerous flight options.

Prevalence of International Flights

Honolulu International Airport is a major hub for international flights, serving as a gateway not only to Hawaii but also as a connecting point for travelers heading to other parts of the world. The airport offers a wide range of international destinations, including cities in Asia, Australia, and North America.

With the growth of global trade and increased connectivity, the demand for international flights has risen steadily. As a result, airports like Honolulu International have experienced an increase in the number of international flights and passengers. The airport’s strategic location in the Pacific makes it an ideal stopover for travelers flying between continents.

Hub Airport for Hawaiian Airlines

Honolulu International Airport is the main hub for Hawaiian Airlines, the largest carrier in Hawaii. As a hub airport, it serves as a central point for connecting flights, allowing passengers to easily transfer to their final destinations.

Hawaiian Airlines operates numerous domestic and international flights from Honolulu, contributing significantly to the airport’s overall traffic. The airline’s extensive network of routes attracts both leisure and business travelers, further adding to the airport’s bustling atmosphere.


In conclusion, Honolulu International Airport ranks among the busiest airports in the United States. Its high annual passenger counts, peaking during tourist high season, reflect Hawaii’s popularity as a vacation destination. As both an international gateway and hub airport, Honolulu International facilitates heavy traffic flows. Understanding when Honolulu International is busiest can help travelers better plan their airport experiences.

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