In Hawai‘i Governor David Ige's State of the State address, he noted that he intends to designate KOA as the next major international destination airport in the state, through Capital Improvement Program funding. KOA's current international flight is by Westjet Airlines from YVR.
Japan Airlines conducted non-stop in-bound flights from NRT to KOA between 1996 and October 2010 with 747s and DC-10s, with return flight stopping over at HNL. In recent years, Hawaiian Airlines has made several applications for non-stop flights between KOA and HND in response to disputes with gate slots by other American carriers; to date however all of these applications have been denied and awarded to competitor airlines.
Governor Ige said he will also seek funding to modernize the passport control system for HNL, as well as general modernization for Hawai‘i airports.