The Significance Behind the “OGG” Initials of Maui’s Airport

What's New — By keithdevey on April 3, 2011 at 9:55 pm

The Kahului airport (Maui’s main airport) goes by the call initials “OGG”, which has had me scratching my head for more than 15 years.  It just doesn’t make sense?  Honolulu airport goes by HNL, San Francisco is SFO, why in the world is Maui OGG? 

Every time I fly in and out of Kahului airport I ask airport staff about the random three letters, and they always respond with a smile and a “you know what, we wonder the same thing.”  My curiosity finally got the best of me on my last flight out of Maui.  When I landed on the mainland, I decided to draft up an email to the aviation department of the government of Hawaii.

To my surprise, Marvin Moniz, District Airport Manager of the Kahului Airport, responded to me almost immediately, “I will email you some information on Monday. On a boat now and it’s too windy to be fishing, bummer.”  I smiled when I got his response, because a) I was finally going to crack the OGG riddle, and b) I was reminded of the awesome aloha spirit and Maui-No-Ka-Oi attitude that all people on Maui share with one another.  I didn’t expect a government official to reply so quickly!

Sure enough, a couple days later I was sent a file on the significance of Kahului’s OGG.  I had goose bumps upon reading.  So without any further build up, here it is:

“OGG” was given as the call tag for Kahului airport to honor local Hawaiian aviation legend Captain Bertram H. Hogg, who was one of the pioneering commercial pilots in the Hawaiian Islands. Hogg was a Kauai resident who flew 8 passenger Sikorski S-38 amphibious planes between the Hawaiian Islands.  When he landed on the Big Island, outrigger canoes would paddle out to the plane to pick up the passengers. How cool is that!

Hogg was also the first pilot to fly a commercial flight after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Through his 41 year career, Hogg flew a total of 25,000 hours, most of it being with Hawaiian airlines.  Maui honored the pilot by naming its airport after him.

And that my friend is the story of the naming of OGG!  Much mahalo to Marvin Moniz for the information.

Tags: Kahului airport, Maui Airport, OGG


  • David Christy says:

    I have flown in and out of that airport many times. I liked it best when it was an attractive open air facility because it looked like it belonged on a beautiful tropic isle. The hideous monstrosity that now serves as their airport could be in any large city.

    I’m sure you are correct on the origin of OGG, but with those fierce crosswinds and the manner in which the pilots have to fight them I have always attributed the OGG to “Oh Good God”!!! LOL

  • Thor says:

    So what’s the deal with Hilo (ITO)?

  • Lorrie Klein says:

    Thanks, I just shared this interesting trivia with my friends who also live part time in Maui. They said they also wondered the same thing. Too bad they don’t have a statue of Hogg at the airport as they do of John Wayne at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA.

  • Brent Izutsu says:

    You might also be interested to find that Maui was behind Oahu, the Big Island, and Kauai in developing an airplane landing site, with the first airport opening in Ma’alaea until it was condemned in 1938. Operations then transferred to Pu’unene in 1939 at the site of what was called the Maui Airport that served as the main hub for civil air operations until 1952. OGG was developed as the Kahului Naval Air Station during WWII and later transferred for civil air use after the war.

    Another fun fact: in 1995, OGG -> HNL was the third busiest route in the nation, serving over 2.7 million passengers.

  • Keith says:

    Thanks for the additional facts Brent! Really interesting.

  • Pederson PR says:

    I love this post — and the comments!!


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