State Dedicates New Airport Corridor at Honolulu Int'l


The state dedicated a brand new corridor at Honolulu International Airport Wednesday that will give arriving international visitors a much more comfortable welcome.

But in another terminal, it's a different story, as a key piece of equipment has remained broken for the last seven months.

Up until now, international passengers arriving in Honolulu stepped off the plane and were herded into hot, stuffy wiki wiki buses, which according to tourism industry experts, was the number one complaint from visitors.

"It's at the top of the list," said Rick Egged of the Waikiki Improvement Association. "So it's great this corridor is now in place and very soon, the wiki wiki buses will be history."

The dedication of the new corridor on the third level of the Ewa concourse included a Hawaiian blessing and the traditional untying of the maile lei.

The new corridor is part of the state's $2.3 billion, 12 year plan to modernize Hawaii's airports.

Officials hope a new corridor that offers air conditioning and a secure route to the federal inspection services area will leave a better first impression.

"Having this completed is going to really set the tone for someone's first view of our state," said Gov. Linda Lingle.

It's estimated more than 80 percent of the 1.5 million international passengers arriving at Honolulu airport each year will use the corridor.

But it's not a short walk -- it's about 2,100 feet long and three state-of-the-art Autowalk people mover systems have been installed.

Meanwhile in an adjacent terminal, a sore spot for airport officials remains an eyesore.

A people mover installed when the terminal was built over 15 years ago has had chronic problems for the last five years.

It's been shut down since March because it required custom ordered parts from the mainland. And while waiting for the parts for this latest repair, replacement glass has been ordered to fix broken glass allegedly kicked in by kids.

"This is our final repair and it's supposed to be done by next month when the glass comes in," said Tammy Mori, spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation.

"After that, we're going to monitor it and really weigh our options at that point." said Mori.

Airport officials had no estimate on how much has been spent to maintain the aging equipment. Options would be to replace it or have it go the way of the Wiki Wiki bus.

Honolulu Airport Opens New Corridor

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