Flight cancelations caused by delays from Olowalu fire impact 800 travelers at Kahului Airport
June 28, 2023, 2:04 PM HST
* Updated June 29, 7:49 AM
Update: 7:37 a.m, June 29, 2023
There was a higher than expected number of passengers waiting to depart from Kahului Airport on Maui Wednesday afternoon, the state Department of Transportation reported. The HI-DOT says there were multiple flight cancelations on Tuesday night, resulting from delays from the fire in Olowalu.
Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz said there were several flight cancellations due to the brush fire, resulting in disruptions for approximately 800 passengers.
According to Moniz, at least two canceled flights were rescheduled for Wednesday, and the remaining flight will leave on Thursday, June 29. “It did create congestion for gate space at the Kahului Airport, but we were able to work it out among the airlines,” said Moniz.
The Honoapiʻilani Highway, which serves as the main artery connecting West and Central Maui, was closed twice for a total of nearly five hours on Tuesday, resulting in travel delays for outbound passengers who were unable to make it to the Kahului Airport in time for departing flights.
The first closure, between 4:15 and 6:15 p.m. Tuesday was due to strong winds and low visibility as a result of heavy smoke from the fire. A second closure, from 7:07 to 9:51 p.m. occurred as crews worked to put out a tree fire adjacent to the highway and remove a downed tree.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire had burned 120 acres and was 90% contained.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation on Wednesday afternoon advised travelers out of Kahului Airport to allow for additional time to make it through the checkpoint.
*This post was updated to include information from Maui Airport officials on flight cancellations.