It’s not every day you seen an airport shut down due to cracks forming in the runway, but that’s exactly what happened at one major airport in Hawaii…
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Kona Airport shuts down due to runway problems
On the afternoon of Monday, January 15, 2024, Kona International Airport (KOA) on the Big Island of Hawaii suddenly shut down. The airport has a single runway that’s 11,000 feet long, and some cracks were discovered in it. Degradation of the runway has reportedly accelerated due to recent rainfall.
Yesterday it got to the point where part of the runway condition was so bad that a 10 foot by 20 foot section of the runway needed to be resurfaced immediately to ensure safe operations.
Starting around 4PM on Monday afternoon, the airport was no longer able to accommodate any arrivals or departures, leading to a significant number of flight cancelations and diversions. Most inbound aircraft ended up diverting to Honolulu International Airport (HNL).
Even prior to this incident, the Hawaii Department of Transportation had planned a project to reconstruct the entire runway in 2024, and that’s still on track to happen. Suffice it to say that this is challenging work at an airport with just one runway, given that working on the runway requires it to be fully shut down. It’s expected that this work will happen progressively overnight, to minimize disruptions for airlines and travelers.
Kona Airport will reopen on Tuesday
It’s impressive how fast officials are working to get the airport up and running again. Work has been taking place overnight, and the goal is to have the airport fully operational starting with the first flight on Tuesday morning.
Of course keep in mind that even with the airport reopening as of Tuesday, there will still likely be some operational impacts. After all, many flights had to divert, so those with flights departing Kona may still experience delays and cancelations. Be sure to check your flight status with the airline.
On Monday afternoon, Kona Airport was forced to close due to cracks in the runway resulting from recent rain. Authorities are working fast to get the airport operational again, and the plan is that flights will resume as of Tuesday morning. The runway is generally in need of a resurfacing, and it’s expected that the runway will be resurfaced throughout 2024, to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.
Are any OMAAT readers impacted by the Kona Airport runway closure?