Kahului Airport is the major airport for Maui, with multiple international flights arriving every single day, and even into the night.
What the close to 3 million visitors who pass through Kahului Airport might not realize is that it’s not the only airport on Maui.
West Maui is home to its very own airport: Kapalua-West Maui Airport (JHM). Learn all about Kapalua Airport (and why you’re unlikely to pay this unusual airport a visit) with our guide.
Is There An Airport On West Maui?
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Although Kahului Airport (OGG) on Central Maui gets most of the air traffic to the island, West Maui has its own airport: Kapalua Airport.
Also known as the Kapalua-West Maui Airport, it’s primarily used for inter-island air travel. It goes by the IATA code JHM, which stands for John Henry Magoon, former president of Hawaiian Airlines.
Kapalua Airport was originally started as a private airport, but is now owned by the State of Hawaii. Prior to the building of Kapalua Airport, West Maui was home to Ka’anapali Airport.
A small airport with a tricky landing strip, this was eventually closed to redevelop the area, and the Kapalua Airport was built to service a similar need.
What Airlines Fly From Kapalua Airport?
The only airline currently operating at Kapalua Airport is Mokulele Airlines (Makani Kai Air used to operate from Kapalua Airport, but is now owned by Mokulele Airlines).
Mokulele Airlines itself is owned by Southern Airways Express, and some online booking operators sell flights under this name!
The air traffic traveling through Kapalua Airport is roughly half scheduled commercial flights, and half air taxi services.
Only domestic flights land at Kapalua Airport, and these all come from elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands, such as Oahu.
How Big Is Kapalua Airport?
Kapalua Airport covers 50 acres and has one runway. It’s a very small airport, and only sees a few flights arrive every day. It also doesn’t operate at night, so you really are limited in your flight choices.
And when you depart a flight at Kapalua Airport, you take the stairs straight onto the tarmac. Kapalua Airport sees only a small number of passengers, significantly less than the number that fly through Kahului Airport.
While Kahului Airport can expect to see almost 3 million passengers every year, Kapalua airport sees closer to 90,000.
How Do You Get To Kapalua Airport?
To get to Kapalua airport from Ka’anapali, Lahaina, and South Maui, follow the Honoapiilani Highway north until it reaches Akahele Street. Turn right onto Akahele Street, and follow the signs for airport parking.
Visitors from Kahana and Kapalua need to follow the Honoapiilani Highway south, before turning left onto Akahele Street, and following the signs for airport parking.
Kapalua Airport is just 2 miles from Ka’anapali, 7 miles from Lahaina, and 4 miles from Kapalua.
Parking at Kapalua Airport is available for a fee, and monthly permits can be purchased for frequent travelers. There is no free parking at Kapalua Airport, except for a grace period of 15 minutes.
Is There A Shuttle Service To Kapalua Airport?
There is no shuttle service directly provided by Kapalua Airport, but pre-arranged ground transportation is offered via JHM by many companies.
These arrangements need to be made by the passenger in advance of arrival. SpeediShuttle, the premier shuttle service on Maui, does operate through Kapalua airport, and can provide transportation to many major resorts, hotels, and condos.
Similarly, there are no car rental services operating directly from Kapalua Airport, but many companies do service the facility.
What Facilities Are At Kapalua Airport?
If you like to arrive several hours in advance of your flight and relax at the airport, you’ll quickly run out of things to do at Kapalua Airport. Kapalua Airport is tiny, and the facilities here are limited.
Kapalua Airport has a vending machine, public toilets, an ATM, and a smoking area. Other than that, there’s very little to do. The vending machine is the only place in the airport to pick up food and drink.
There is, however, a newspaper vending machine where you can grab something to read. Unless you visit on a Sunday, when the newspaper vending machine isn’t filled.
If you want to start your Maui vacation with a traditional lei greeting, then you’ll need to head to Kahului Airport, as Kapalua doesn’t offer the service.
As you have to fly from elsewhere on Hawaii to get to Kapalua Airport, the lack of lei greeting is pretty understandable!
What About Airport Beach?
If you’re exploring West Maui, then you might hear the occasional reference to Airport Beach. This isn’t an actual airport on a beach, but rather a reference to the old Ka’anapali Airport.
With the move to Kapalua, this section of West Maui was redeveloped into a resort area, and the beach flourished.
The beach is better known as Kahekili Beach, but some still use the name Airport Beach (or even Old Airport Beach).
But don’t worry, you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling without planes using your towel as a landing strip.
Should I Fly From Kapalua Airport?
Kapalua Airport may not have the facilities, size, or number of flights of Kahului Airport, but it is known for exceptionally good service.
And if you’re hoping for a quiet trip across the islands of Hawaii, the laid back atmosphere of Kapalua Beach and easy to navigate terminal definitely makes it an airport to consider.
This really is service with a smile, with none of the stress and boredom associated with bigger airports.
However, with very limited flights leaving from Kapalua Airport, you might not get the chance to discover the commuter airport! But it’s definitely one to keep in mind if you’re planning some inter-island travel.
Kapalua Airport also not the only little known, little used airport on Maui: Hana Airport (HNM) sees only a couple of thousand visitors every year.