For the first time in six years, an international flight is set to depart from Kona International Airport.
The inaugural flight from Kona to Tokyo is scheduled to depart on Dec. 20.
The flights are due to the re-establishment of a Federal Inspection Service facility at the airport.
Regularly scheduled international flights to Kona began in 1996 and were discontinued in October 2010. Currently, Honolulu is the only landing option in the state for international flights.
“The resumption of international flights to Kona will have a wide-ranging positive impact on Hawaii Island and the state as a whole by boosting tourism spending, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars for our economy,” said Gov. David Ige.
The Hawaii Department of Transportation estimates new international flights to Kona will result in more than $7 million in annual projected tax benefits. International visitors will also spend tens of millions of dollars at local businesses and attractions, further boosting the economy and generating jobs.
Several improvements are being made to the international arrivals section at KOA, including the installation of security cameras and motion sensors, an upgraded access control system, 10 Automated Passport Control kiosks to process incoming international passengers quickly and efficiently, and refurbished restrooms.