The state’s busiest airport has been renamed after one of our late senior senators.
Honolulu’s airport has gone through name changes over the years. It started in 1927 as John Rodgers Airport. It was renamed Honolulu Airport in 1947, then Honolulu International Airport in 1951.
Now it’s been renamed Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, and that’s the name you’ll find if you go to the airport’s official website.
A resolution was passed last year to rename the airport in honor of the late senator, who recognized the importance of a fully functional state airport system.
Sen. Inouye helped secure federal funds every year to maintain and develop the airport.
“We had to find a landmark that maybe had the importance, so for a long time, people thought of various buildings and public structures, but it seems that the airport really maintains that level of authority,” said Rep. Tom Brower, D, Waikiki, Ala Moana.
This comes as the main airport for Oahu undergoes a massive modernization project that includes a consolidated rental car facility, improvements to the mauka concourse, and widening of some of the taxi lanes.
KHON2 reached out to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, and a spokesperson told us the FAA officially made the change, renaming the airport Thursday. We noticed the Honolulu International Airport sign has already been removed from the old airport tower.
While the name has changed, the airport’s three-letter designation (IATA code) HNL is still the same.
There are other cases where airports have changed names and their three-letter designations no longer match. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Orlando International Airport (MCO), and John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) are examples. However, the IATA code may change in the future as was the case with John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) that was Idlewild Airport (IDL) before being renamed after President Kennedy.
On January 1, 2017, Kona International Airport (KOA) was renamed Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole to honor fallen astronaut Ellison Onizuka who was born and raised in Kona.
We’re still trying to get answers from the DOT on what other changes could come with the new name.