Upgrades will allow Honolulu airport to accommodate world’s largest passenger airplane

A Japanese airline wants to begin flying the world’s biggest passenger airplane to Honolulu, but it’s going to mean some changes at the airport.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) wants to bring the double-decker Airbus A380 here for a Tokyo-Honolulu route starting in spring 2019.

On Friday, the Hawaii Department of Transportation gave us a tour of the area that’s set to be upgraded.

Two separate gates at the airport, 29 and 34, will be renovated. Passengers will be getting on and off the plane on two different floors at the international terminal.

“This plane is actually capable of fitting more than 500 passengers, so more than twice as many people can fit on this plane and the traditional planes to come in to Honolulu.” said transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara. “So what we will need to do, since it’s a double-decker plane, we will need to make a second level in order for passengers to load and unload off of that plane.”

Because the plane has two levels, new jetways will be built on the third level of the international terminal, and seating areas will be renovated to get ready for the influx of passengers.

“People may have read about this plane. It’s a new brand of luxury flying that’s capable of having full-size beds. It’s almost like a little bedroom for people in certain classes on the plane,” Sakahara said. “It’s also exciting because it’s the first time that the double-decker plane will be coming to Honolulu on regularly scheduled flights.”

The project is currently out to bid. Officials say construction is set to begin early next year and should take about a year.

The department says the project will cost in the neighborhood of $10 million, which will be paid for with airport revenue.

Other upgrades in the international terminal will include a new market and additional retail space.

The DOT says this new plane will bring economic benefits for the state.

“Anytime you have additional people, additional passengers coming into the state, it’s a positive benefit and economic benefit as well,” Sakahara said.

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