Which Maui Airport Should I Fly Into?

Which Maui Airport Should I Fly Into?

My go to chant, when my family sees me under stress, furiously rubbing my index finger in circles across my forehead is: “Maui, Maui, Maui.”

I want to go to my happy place — a Maui state of mind.

Of course, packing your bags and winging your way across the Pacific Ocean is far better than some rapid mental meditation.

One immediate question pops to mind on the way to volcanic lands of warm trade winds and pineapples.

Which Maui airport should I fly into?

The short answer — if you are flying to Maui from anywhere outside the state of Hawaii — is Kahului Airport, near the main Maui city of Kahului.

Kahului Airport

Obviously, your starting point is a huge factor in deciding which Maui airport to fly into. Kahului is the only airport on the island of Maui that serves flights from the U.S. mainland, Canada, or any other country. The airport can handle narrow- and wide-body airliners, while flights with large jumbo aircraft like the 747 or A380 land at Hawaii’s largest airport in Honolulu.

 

By global standards, Maui International Airport, in Kahului is rather modest, but it does serve flights from the North American mainland.
By global standards, Maui International Airport, in Kahului is rather modest, but it does serve flights from the North American mainland.
Kahului Airport is about a 45-minute drive to the main resort areas on the west side of Maui, including Kapalua, Kaanapali, Kihei and Wailea. There are several shuttle services available from the airport to your resort destination, and the airport has car rental companies as well.

Although it’s the second busiest airport in Hawaii, getting around Kahului Airport is a snap, with just 18 jetways and five luggage carousels. That’s not to suggest this is a sleepy airport. The route between Kahului and Honolulu is the 13th busiest corridor in the United States, carrying more than 1.6 million passengers a year.

Kahului, the city itself, isn’t really considered a tourist destination. With a population of over 26,000 people, it’s the main commercial, light industrial and retail centre on Maui.

Airlines that Service Kahului Airport
Here is a list of airlines that fly into Kahului Airport.

Air Canada
Air Canada Rouge
Alaska Airlines
American Airlines
Delta Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines
Island Air
Mokulele Airlines
Ohana by Hawaiian (operated by Empire Airlines)
United Airlines
Virgin America
Westjet

Hawaiian Airlines is the busiest operator using Kahului, the largest Maui airport. Here’s how the traffic breaks down for the top-five airlines.

Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Hawaiian Airlines 3,172,000 51.65%
2 Alaska Airlines 820,000 13.34%
3 United Airlines 717,000 11.68%
4 American Airlines1 581,000 9.45%
5 Delta Air Lines 327,000 5.32%
Source: Wikipedia

A Quicker Way to Get There — Kapalua Airport

There are ways to land closer to popular resort areas on Maui by island hopping from Honolulu, O’Ahu or Kona on the main island. And maximizing relaxation time is paramount when deciding which Maui airport to fly into.

If you’re already flying across an ocean — and want to avoid a 45-minute drive across the island of Maui — you can fly into Honolulu or Kona, and transfer onto a smaller aircraft that will take you on a short, 30-minute flight into Kapalua, a small airport close to major resorts on the west side of Maui.

Kapalua is a good option for which Maui airport to fly to if you want to be close to resorts.
Kapalua is a good option for which Maui airport to fly to if you want to be close to resorts. Image: Kapalua Airport Terminal by Reigenbrode at English Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0
Kapalua Airport is a small airport on the west side of Maui, just north of Lahaina and Kaanapali. No jets land here. But Mokulele Airlines, a regional carrier in Hawaii, offers a Maui airport shuttle to Kaanapali on small, single-engine propeller aircraft that carry 9 and 11 passengers.

Hawaiian Airlines also plans service starting in 2017 from Honolulu, carrying up to 48 passengers on a twin turboprop commuter aircraft, as soon as the U.S. Transportation Security Administration can set up passenger screening at the airport.

Their proximity to beach resorts is definitely a priority when picking which Maui airport to fly into.
Their proximity to beach resorts is definitely a priority when picking which Maui airport to fly into. Image: courtesy of Kapalua Resort.
Kapalua Airport, which does not handle any flights after dark, is very close to resort areas on the west side of Maui. The airport is only about a five to 15-minute drive from the main hotels.

Which Maui Airport is the Most Remote?

There is one more airstrip on Maui island, and in the debate of which Maui airport to arrive at, this one takes the prize for being the most off-the-beaten path.

For their Maui airport service to Hana, Mokulele uses a small, single-prop airplane.
For their Maui airport service to Hana, Mokulele uses a small, single-prop airplane. Image: N862MA by redlegsfan21. CC BY-SA 2.0
Mokulele serves a twice daily flight from Kahului, the main Maui airport to Hana, using the airline’s small, one propeller aircraft. This short, 20-minute hop takes you to one of the most isolated communities in Hawaii.

On the eastern edge of Maui, Hana is the last undeveloped paradise on the island. The gateway to this region is a tiny airport with a single building, no taxi service and one payphone.

By road, it takes between two and four hours to crawl the 52 miles along the narrow, winding Hana Highway 360 from Kahului. This breathtaking ride takes you through rainforests, waterfalls, pools and dramatic seascapes.

This end of Maui could not be more different than the west side with it popular, well-developed resorts.

Hana is home to one of the island’s best surfing beaches, a small village highly resistant to change and development, and Waianapanapa State Park, a black sand beach with renowned snorkelling.

Getting Around Once You’ve Decided Which Airport to Fly Into
Whether seeking the end of the road less travelled, island hopping to popular resorts, or flying nonstop across the ocean, Maui’s three island airports offer choices that lead to a Pacific paradise and memories that will last a lifetime.

Once you’ve made the decision on which Maui airport to use, Ridebooker is the best place to find Maui airport transportation. Our Maui OGG airport shuttle to Wailea-Makena is particularly handy. Throughout Hawaii, we have several airport shuttle services that will likely be your most convenient option for travelling the last leg of your trip.

Newer Post

COMMENTS