Hawaii hangar features widest span to date

Due to the popularity of travel to Hawaii, Honolulu International Airport (HNL) has experienced exponential growth in its 50 years of existence. Rubb is delighted to complete another signature building project there.


When Hawaiian Airlines, the State of Hawaii and HNL looked to vastly expand their hangar and air cargo capacity, they turned to Rubb for solutions. Because of space and growth constraints the project required a unique design. Hawaiian Air visited Rubb USA’s air cargo facility, which was built for United Airlines at HNL in 1997, to get an understanding of Rubb’s capabilities.


When the decision was made to move forward with the project, MCA Architects in Portland, Oregon, was brought on board to design it. The project required a diverse use of spaces including cargo, parts warehousing, aircraft maintenance, ground equipment maintenance, offices, training classrooms, and various other facilities.


Frank Rudloff, partner at MCA Architects, noted: “They wanted to redevelop their home base at HNL and wanted to take a look at Rubb’s technology.”


Gordon Collins, Rubb USA’s Director of Marketing at the time, added: “We create a different type of hangar structure than is conventionally built for aircraft, and they wanted to explore that. With the maintenance hangar at a length of 105.7m (347ft) and the air cargo facility at a length of 57.9m (190ft), and both at a clear span width of 83.8m (275ft), this will be Rubb USA’s largest clear span building to date. We were excited about the project from the start.”


Rubb’s technology offered long term benefits superior to traditional construction. Considering Hawaii’s challenging natural environment, a corrosive marine environment with high winds and rain, not to mention high UV exposure, Rubb provided a solid solution: a corrosion resistant structural framework with a high quaity, non-corrosive PVC cladding, which allows natural light to enter while reflecting solar load.


Also, due to a shallow coral base at the site, the foundation requirements for the building had to be flexible, another positive feature of Rubb buildings. However, the true milestone of this project was Rubb’s ability to successfully synergize with HNL, State of Hawaii, Hawaiian Air, and MCA Architects along with a local construction contractor to see this project through.


“It’s always a challenge to do major improvements to an active airport. The program was designed in a sequence so that certain projects would be completed to allow for other projects to begin and at the same time keep operations running 24/7,” says Carolyn Sluyter, Public Information Officer, State of Hawaii.


The new facility will consolidate Hawaiian Airline’s existing cargo operations, aircraft maintenance, loading docks and customer service operations into an integrated facility. As HNL continues to grow, the Rubb hangar may be expanded by adding trusses and extending the fabric roof.