Kahului Airport Reroutes Line for Entry as Quarantine on Interisland Travel is Lifted

June 15, 2020, 6:54 PM HST · Updated June 16, 11:47 AM
Wendy Osher · 20 Comments
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Kahului Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic. (04.13. 2020) Gaylord Paul Garcia for Maui Now.

By Wendy Osher

The state is readying airports for Tuesday’s (June 16) resumption of interisland travel without quarantine for individuals transiting by air between islands.

“As we envision reopening of our communities to trans-Pacific travel, this new process interisland really allows us to test the system, make sure everything is in place so that we can manage those traveling interisland, be able to contact them, get their health status about whether they’ve been exposed, wether they are symptomatic, and most importantly, it allows us to maintain contact should someone become ill as they are traveling interisland we can provide them access to health care services as well as getting testing.”

Governor David Ige notes that new screening will be in place and anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees, will not be able to fly.

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Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Sakahara said that there is no on-site test processing at the airport itself; however, if there is anyone with fever or symptoms, they will have the opportunity to have a nasal swab taken at the airport.  That nasal sample would then be provided to the state Department of Health for analysis.  The traveler would not stay at the airport, but would make alternate arrangements and try to fly another day.

There’s also a new travel form that can be filled out online and printed ahead of departure to ensure a smoother transition.  The form takes between two and five minutes to fill out, but is available online and can be printed and brought to the airport for a smoother transition.

Transportation officials are advising travelers to provide extra time for travel–and have recommended a three hour lead time ahead of their flight to ensure on-time boarding. “Everyone has their own comfort level,” said Sakahara noting the some are comfortable getting there and being last person on plane, while others would prefer to have ample time so they are not rushed.

He asks that travelers assess their own comfort level, and encourages people to arrive earlier than normal, especially tomorrow and the rest of the week as the transition begins.

Maui Managing director Sandy Baz said crews at Kahului Airport were working today to restructure the entry point for air travelers, to accommodate longer lines.

“You’re going to be lining up from the baggage claim side to get to TSA versus from the ticketing side.  Passenger lines will be rerouted so that departing passengers go through to the baggage claim area and then back into TSA towards that check in area,” said Baz at an afternoon press conference on Monday.

“This is because they expect long lines–and with the physical distancing requirements they want to make sure that there’s enough space rather than getting people staggered up into the check-in area,” he said.

“I certainly encourage you to travel interisland,” said Gov. Ige, “and we look forward to your input as we make improvements to this new interisland traveling process.”

While the quarantine for interisland travel is being lifted, the mandatory 14-day quarantine for international and out-of-state arrivals into Hawaiʻi remains in place through at least July 31, 2020. Gov. Ige’s latest Ninth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation gives him the flexibility to reopen travel “when the state is ready.”

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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