During the 1980s, Hawaiian also embarked on the development and construction of Kapalua Airport on west side of Maui. Opened in 1987, the airport was designed with a 3,000-foot runway, which constrained its ability to handle large aircraft. As a result, when the airport first opened, Hawaiian Airlines was the only inter-island carrier with aircraft capable of serving the airport. With its de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7 turboprops, Hawaiian had a distinct competitive advantage in the Maui market.
On March 31, 2011, Hawaiian announced that they will be renovating the check-in lobby of the inter-island terminal at the Honolulu International Airport (Hawaiian's main hub). Hawaiian, the only occupant of the inter-island terminal, will be removing the traditional check-in counter, to install six circular check-in islands in the middle of the lobbies. Those check-in islands can be used for inter-island, mainland, and international flights.
To replace its retired DC-8s and L-1011s, Hawaiian Airlines leased six DC-10s from American Airlines, who continued to provide maintenance on the aircraft. An agreement with American also included participation in American's SABRE reservation system and participation in American Airlines' AAdvantage frequent flyer program. The DC-10s were subsequently retired between 2002 and 2003. The company replaced these leased DC-10s with 14 leased Boeing 767 aircraft during a fleet modernization program that also replaced its DC-9s with new Boeing 717 aircraft. The Boeing aircraft featured an updated rendition of the company's "Pualani" tail art, which had appeared on its Douglas aircraft since the 1970s.