Hawaiian’s success good for Kauai, too

We want to see airlines succeed. We want them to do well. We need them. It’s the airlines that deliver the bulk of Kauai’s million-plus visitors each year and it’s those visitors who drive much of our economy.

That’s why we’re glad to see Hawaiian Airlines recently celebrated 85 years of service in Hawaii. Naturally, there’s a bit of a love/hate relationship with airlines, depending on ticket prices, flights being on time and perhaps the person sitting next to you on your trip to the Mainland.

Little sends someone into orbit quicker than what seems to be outrageous airfares, or paying for a ticket and having the price drop a few weeks later, or delaying buying a ticket only to see prices rise shortly afterward. If anyone has ever mastered the art of knowing the right time to buy tickets, please let us know.

But we digress. We need airlines, living here on an island, more than others. So Hawaiian’s longevity is good. It’s financial standing and future planning is important to Kauai. Consider that Hawaiian is Hawaii’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the Mainland.

Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides about 160 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, with a total of more than 200 daily flights systemwide.

Throughout the month of November, Hawaiian Airlines Team Kokua will be participating in statewide community service projects, including one on Kauai on Saturday, restoring agricultural and historical sites.

“We’ve come a very long way since 1929, and being able to celebrate 85 years of continuous service is an exceptional achievement in itself for Hawaiian Airlines,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer. “We owe thanks to our more than 5,000 dedicated employees, to those now retired from the company and to our loyal customers who have supported us over the years. We look forward to many more milestone celebrations as we continue to grow and diversify our service.”

A bit of background. Hawaii’s first interisland passenger service was launched on Nov. 11, 1929, as Inter-Island Airways, with a flight from Honolulu to Hilo, which took a total of one hour and 40 minutes. The first flight to Kauai was made the following day and all the Hawaiian Islands were soon receiving air service on a regular basis. 

Today, Hawaiian Airlines’ route network encompasses six of the eight Hawaiian Islands, as well as 11 International and 11 Mainland destinations. Hawaiian Airlines operates a fleet of 51 aircraft – 18 Boeing 717-200 jets for interisland flights in Hawaii; 11 Boeing 767-300 and 19 Airbus 330-200 wide-body jets for transpacific and international service; and three ATR-42 for its new turbo prop service Ohana by Hawaiian that launched earlier this year.

Hawaiian Airlines will have three more A330s joining the fleet by the end of 2015. By the end of 2020, the airline plans to have 22 A330s total and 16 new narrow body A321neo aircraft. The airline will begin taking delivery of six new A330-800neo aircraft in 2019.

Give credit to Hawaiian for enduring more than eight decades, some of those in turbulent times. The airline has had its ups and downs, but up is the trend these days and that’s a positive sign for our economy.

Such expansion, such investment, is good. For Hawaiian. For Kauai. For Hawaii.

Our only suggestion for Hawaiian would be a program that offers discounted airfares for locals when traveling between islands. That’s something everyone would happily celebrate for years to come.

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