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With over 130 airports spread across the Hawaiian islands, aviation enthusiasts often wonder – which one has the shortest runway in Hawaii? If you’re pressed for time, here’s a quick answer: the shortest runway in Hawaii is on Lanai Airport, measuring just 3,000 feet in length.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll dive into the details around Hawaiian runways. We’ll look at some background on Hawaii’s airports, review runway length specifics at the major airports, and reveal more about that ultra-short Lanai airstrip.

Background on Hawaiian Airports

Hawaii is known for its stunning natural beauty, warm weather, and vibrant culture. As a popular tourist destination, the state boasts a number of airports that connect visitors from all over the world to its idyllic islands. Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of Hawaiian airports.

Total number of airports

Hawaii is home to a total of X airports, making it convenient for travelers to explore the different islands. These airports range in size from small, local airports to larger, international hubs. Each airport has its own unique charm and amenities, reflecting the diverse character of the islands they serve.

Busiest airports

When it comes to passenger traffic, the busiest airports in Hawaii are Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on the island of Oahu and Kahului Airport (OGG) on the island of Maui. These airports serve as major gateways, welcoming millions of visitors each year. HNL is particularly well-connected, with numerous airlines offering direct flights to and from destinations around the world.

Runway basics

The runways at Hawaiian airports are designed to accommodate different types of aircraft, from small propeller planes to large commercial jets. They are typically made of asphalt or concrete, and their length and width depend on the size of the airport and the types of aircraft it handles. For example, Honolulu International Airport has multiple runways, with the longest measuring approximately X feet in length.

It’s worth noting that some Hawaiian airports have unique runway configurations due to their geographical constraints. For instance, the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu (formerly known as Honolulu International Airport) has a reef runway, which extends over a coral reef and offers breathtaking views during takeoff and landing.

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Major Hawaiian Airport Runway Lengths

Honolulu International Airport

The Honolulu International Airport is the main gateway to Hawaii, serving millions of passengers each year. It boasts one of the longest runways in the state, measuring approximately 12,000 feet in length. This runway is capable of accommodating large aircraft, including wide-body jets, making it a crucial hub for international and domestic flights. With its strategic location in the heart of Oahu, the Honolulu International Airport plays a vital role in connecting Hawaii to the rest of the world.

Kahului Airport

Kahului Airport, located on the island of Maui, is another important airport in Hawaii. Its runway length is around 6,995 feet, which is sufficient to handle a significant number of flights both within the state and from mainland US cities. This airport serves as a gateway to the stunning natural beauty of Maui, attracting thousands of tourists every year. Whether you’re a beach lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing vacation, Kahului Airport is the starting point for your Hawaiian adventure.

Lihue Airport

Lihue Airport, situated on the island of Kauai, has a runway length of approximately 6,500 feet. Despite being shorter than some of the other major airports in Hawaii, Lihue Airport is well-equipped to handle a considerable volume of air traffic. This airport provides convenient access to Kauai’s enchanting landscapes, including the majestic Na Pali Coast and the picturesque Waimea Canyon. So, if you’re seeking an unforgettable island experience, Lihue Airport is your gateway to Kauai’s natural wonders.

Kona International Airport

Kona International Airport, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, features a runway length of about 11,000 feet. This airport is a vital transportation hub, serving both international and domestic flights. Kona International Airport is the gateway to the island’s diverse attractions, including the famous Kona coffee farms, breathtaking volcanoes, and stunning black-sand beaches. With its extensive runway, this airport can accommodate a wide range of aircraft, ensuring convenient travel options for visitors from around the world.

Hilo International Airport

Hilo International Airport, also situated on the Big Island, has a runway length of approximately 9,800 feet. This airport serves as an important transportation hub for travelers looking to explore the natural wonders of the island. From the breathtaking Akaka Falls to the active Kilauea volcano, Hilo International Airport provides easy access to some of Hawaii’s most spectacular sights. Despite its shorter runway compared to Kona International Airport, Hilo International Airport efficiently handles a significant number of flights, ensuring smooth travel experiences for visitors.

Shortest Runway in Hawaii

Lanai Airport, located in Lanai City, is a small but important airport in the Hawaiian archipelago. It serves as the main gateway for visitors traveling to the island of Lanai. Despite its size, Lanai Airport plays a crucial role in connecting the island to the rest of Hawaii and the mainland. It is operated by the Hawaii Department of Transportation and serves both commercial and general aviation flights.

Details on the short runway

One interesting fact about Lanai Airport is that it boasts the shortest runway in Hawaii. The runway measures only X feet in length, making it quite unique compared to other airports in the state. This compact runway is primarily designed to accommodate smaller aircraft, such as turboprops and regional jets. The short length of the runway presents unique challenges for pilots during takeoff and landing, requiring precise maneuvers and careful attention to details.

The short runway at Lanai Airport is a result of the island’s topography, which limits the available space for runway expansion. Despite its length, the runway is well-maintained and meets all safety regulations and standards. The airport authorities regularly monitor and maintain the runway to ensure the safety of all flights operating from Lanai Airport.

Challenges of a short runway

Operating an airport with a short runway presents a set of challenges for pilots and airport authorities. One of the main challenges is the limited margin for error during takeoff and landing. Pilots need to carefully calculate the required speed, distance, and altitude to ensure a safe takeoff or landing on the short runway.

The short runway also limits the types of aircraft that can operate at Lanai Airport. Larger commercial planes with higher landing speeds and longer takeoff distances cannot land or depart from this airport. As a result, the airport mainly serves smaller aircraft, limiting the passenger capacity and cargo capacity of flights to and from Lanai.

Despite these challenges, pilots and airport authorities have successfully managed operations at Lanai Airport for years. The airport’s importance to the island’s tourism and economy cannot be overstated, and its short runway is just one of the unique features that make Lanai Airport stand out among other airports in Hawaii.


While most major Hawaiian airports have runways over 8,000 feet long, tiny Lanai Airport clocks in at just 3,000 feet – the shortest runway in the state. This unique airstrip presents pilots with some interesting challenges. We’ve reviewed background on Hawaiian airports, explored runway stats at the major hubs, and taken a close look at that pint-sized Lanai landing strip. Whether you’re an aviation buff or just curious about Hawaii’s infrastructure, now you know the answer to the question – which Hawaiian airport has the shortest runway?

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