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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then, a Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 departed as HA30 to Seattle.
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.
This was complemented by Island Air Q400, ‘Ohana ATR, and Aloha Air 737.
Finally, there was some traffic from the mainland as well.
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.