Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport At Keahole (Koa)

Phone (808) 327-9520
4.5 stars from 6 reviews
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.

Features
• Transportation: Airport

Matt Anderson's Take
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!
Share This On
Matt Anderson
Added by on

Nicole L
Joined: Aug 2017
Reviews: 30
Likes Received: 0
This is in the middle of nowhere and it is perfect! There is no inside at all. Here’s a statue in the middle of the airport.
  Like
Matt A
Joined: Feb 2013
Reviews: 803
Likes Received: 111
On the upside, this is a very small airport so it's easy to get through the dreaded TSA as well as finding your terminal On the downside, this is a very small airport and thus has little in the way of shops, food, and general amenities if you have a lot of time to kill here.
  Like
Debbie T
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 24
Likes Received: 1
Very efficient service.
  Like
Dave
Joined: Apr 2016
Reviews: 237
Likes Received: 33
We just flew into Kona airport today and love flying here. You get off of your airplane outside and the smell of aloha hits you right in the face! Everything is open and is such a great airport. We know when we land we are home, in Kona.
  Like
Jennie S
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 39
Likes Received: 2
I love that this airport is outside! You get to wait around for your flight out in the sun. The "buildings" and sections are hut-like structures. And while it isn't a very big airport, the selection of food was great! And I loved how I got to go onto the tarmac to get on the plane.
  Like
Consensus Guy
Joined: Jul 2013
Reviews: 11148
Likes Received: 26
Kona International Airport gets better than average reviews overall. Most like the small town feel it provides but dislike the lack of amenities (places to eat, etc).
  Like
 
More Top Rated Big Island Places