Spotting Report: Enjoying Hawaiian Traffic at Kahului and Molokai

Spotting Report: Enjoying Hawaiian Traffic at Kahului and Molokai

While the main purpose of my trip to Hawaii was being on the AirAsia X inaugural from Osaka to Honolulu, I also wanted to take the opportunity to try do some island-hopping and a bit of spotting.

Luckily, it all worked out almost perfectly – including weather, and on the first day, I did some spotting at Honolulu airport. On the second day, I flew from Honolulu to Kahului to Molokai to Kahului to Honolulu which gave me a chance to try four out of the five airlines operating inter-island flights, as well as to do some spotting at Kahului and Molokai.

Spotting Around Kahului Airport Commuter Terminal

After arriving at Kahului airport onboard Island Air, I had a couple of hours before taking my Makani Kai Air flight to Molokai. As the weather was quite bad in the morning, I spent most of the time just wondering around the airport and its surroundings.

But fortunately, not long before my flight, the sun came out, and so I was able to capture two Cessna Grand Caravans – one of Makani Kai Air and one of Mokulele Airlines – near the commuter terminal.

Makani Kai Air Cessna Grand Caravan

Makani Kai Air Cessna Grand Caravan.
Mokulele Airlines Cessna Grand Caravan

Mokulele Airlines Cessna Grand Caravan.

About 385 mm (36 mm equivalent) is required for a Grand Caravan on the runway. Depending on the time of the day, it is also possible to catch the commuter aircraft on the taxiway leading to runway 05 at this spot. In both cases, you have to shoot through a mesh fence.

Kahului Commuter Terminal Spotting Point

Spotting location next to Kahului’s commuter terminal.

The area near the commuter terminal is the best place to capture Makani Kai Air and Mokulele Airlines at Kahului given that the aircraft oftentimes use runway 05/23 – the one next to the commuter terminal rather than the longer one in front of the main terminal – and the fact that you are fairly close to the aircraft.

Brief Spotting at Molokai Airport

As I had just a bit over two hours between my flights to and from Molokai, I decided to spend them in the terminal with the hope of photographing a movement or two.

Next to the terminal, there was a grassy area where movements on the apron, as well as the runway could be photographed – once again through a chainlink fence.

Molokai Airport Spotting Point

Molokai airport terminal and the spotting location next to it.

Given that Molokai is a very quiet airport, there wasn’t too much to see. However, I was still glad to get a couple of photos of local traffic before catching my Mokulele Airlines flight back to Kahului.


Beech King Air.
Makani Kai Air Cessna Grand Caravan

Makani Kai Air Cessna Grand Caravan.
FedEx Cessna Grand Caravan

FedEx Cessna Grand Caravan.
Ohana ATR 42

‘Ohana by Hawaiian ATR 42.

Afternoon Airside Spotting at Kahului Airport Main Terminal

The final and most productive part of my spotting at Kahului and Molokai came after arriving from Molokai around 2PM. In spite of my flight back to Honolulu not departing until after 6PM, I retrieved my boarding pass from one of the Hawaiian Airlines check-in kiosks and headed through the security.

Once airside, I settled near gate 17 for quite a few hours – until it was time to board my flight. Most of the gates at Kahului offer great views of the main taxiway as well as runway with nice background. Unfortunately, the windows are EXTREMELY dirty, however, it is still a decent place to spot.

Kahului Airside Spotting

Kahului airside spotting location.
Kahului Airport Spotting

While the windows are dirty, they offer nice view of the operations.

One of the first aircraft I was able to photograph was Alaska Airlines’ 737-800 in the “Boeing” livery. It waited on the taxiway in front of the terminal for quite a while until another 737 of the company – in a special livery as well – got pushed back out of its gate.

Alaska Airlines 737-800 Boeing Livery

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 in Boeing livery.
Alaska Airlines 737-800 Spirit of the Islands Livery

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 in “Spirit of the Islands” livery.

Around the same time, another highlight of the day – a Boeing 737-200 of Transair – departed the airport on another one of its inter-island cargo hops.

Transair Boeing 737-200

Transair Boeing 737-200.

Then, a Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 departed as HA30 to Seattle.

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200.

Other than that, there was plenty of inter-island traffic (Honolulu-Kahului is among some of the busiest domestic routes in the US). By far the most dominant aircraft was the Hawaiian Airlines 717.

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717-200 Old Livery

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717-200 in the old livery.
Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717-200 New Livery

…and the new one.
Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717-200

…and heads on.

This was complemented by Island Air Q400, ‘Ohana ATR, and Aloha Air 737.

Island Air Bombardier Q400

Island Air Bombardier Q400.
Aloha Air Cargo 737

Aloha Air Cargo Boeing 737-300.
'Ohana by Hawaiian ATR 42

‘Ohana by Hawaiian ATR 42.

Finally, there was some traffic from the mainland as well.

Delta Air Lines 757-200

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-200.
American Airlines 767-300

American Airlines Boeing 767-300.

Unfortunately, as the day was progressing, the amount of clouds was increasing. In spite of that, though, there were some sunny moments – and even a rainbow – later in the afternoon.

That allowed me to catch the below photos before getting on a Hawaiian Airlines 717 to get back to Honolulu.

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717-200

Love the Hawaiian Airlines livery!
Makani Kai Air Cessna Grand Caravan

One of the last photos I took at Kahului – Makani Kai Air Cessna Grand Caravan arriving under a rainbow.

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