Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport At Keahole (Koa)

Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA)
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Phone (808) 327-9520
Address 73-200 Kupipi St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
One of two main airports on the Big Island, this one is in Kailua-Kona on the west side of the island.

• Transportation: Airport

Kona International Airport, with airport code KOA, is one of two main airports on the Big Island with the other being Hilo International Airport (ITO). This airport is located on the west coast of the Big Island in Kailua-Kona and closest to all of the popular west coast resorts here.

Though it is an international airport, it's very small and doesn't offer many amenities at all. If you're hungry your best option is to eat before you arrive here though there is a small shop to get snacks and a restaurant to eat at on site.

There are no jetways here so you'll be boarding outside in the open, something kids are sure to find fun. The TSA security situation here is usually pretty fast since crowds aren't as likely here as they are at much larger airports.

As of January 2017, what used to simply be called Kona International Airport is now the ridiculously long Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. If you're not familiar with the name Ellison Onizuka, he was a NASA astronaut that grew up in Kealakekua on the Big Island. He was the first Asian American and first person of Japanese ancestry to reach space. Onizuka successfully flew into space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery but later died in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986.

The airport used to have an area called the Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center (now closed) which was an educational space center dedicated to the memory of Ellison Shoji Onizuka. We love that they're still honoring Ellison Onizuka today, but a name like that is going to really confuse travelers after years of being known simply as Kona International Airport. We'll guess that while the signs may change, everyone will still just call it Kona International Airport. Too bad that name changing money didn't go to something better, like educating some future space candidates!