Kona airport is officially called the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.
Ellison Onizuka was an astronaut from Kealakekua, Hawaii, who died in the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Kona is the district and Keahole the place name for the actual location (Keahole Point) of the airport. And International? Well that’s largely due to the aircraft in these photos.
Japan Airlines (JAL) began flying to Kona from Tokyo in 1996, but suspended service in 2010. With no international flights coming in, the feds shut up shop, and that’s the way it stayed until the end of 2016. At that point, Hawaiian Airlines began service to Tokyo three times a week and a new Federal Inspection Service facility opened at the airport to accommodate the needs of the government. But the icing on the cake occurred in September of last year when JAL resumed daily flights to Kona. And in December of this year, Air Canada will begin seasonal nonstop flights from Vancouver. Très internationale!
These photos are of the outgoing JAL flight preparing to take off on the return journey to Japan. I took the top photo because it made me think of a shark cruising by.