HONOLULU — Hawaiian Airlines on Tuesday welcomed guests aboard its inaugural flight between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye Airport and Fukuoka Airport with a festive gate-side celebration as the carrier marked the start of its four-times-weekly nonstop service with Airbus A330 aircraft.
Hawai‘i’s flagship carrier delighted guests with a performance by the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders music and hula troupe, as well as fresh lei and special keepsakes including a canvas tote and luggage tag commemorating the airline’s inaugural flight.
Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram addressed guests in Honolulu to mark the return of service to its sister city. Ross Higashi, deputy director of the State of Hawai’i Department of Transportation – Airports, and Koichi Ito, consul general of Japan, also offered congratulatory remarks before HA827 departed HNL at 11:20 a.m., with a scheduled 5:55 p.m. arrival at FUK the following day.
The inaugural return flight, HA828, is scheduled to depart FUK at 7:55 p.m. on Nov. 27. The 8:45 a.m. arrival at HNL on the same day gives travelers the afternoon to explore Oahu or connect to one of Hawaiian’s seven neighbor island destinations.
“Fukuoka and Honolulu share a special relationship, so we’re thrilled to bring local residents of Kyushu and Hawai‘i one step closer to their vacation with our convenient nonstop service,” said Theo Panagiotoulias, Hawaiian’s senior vice president of global sales and alliances. “We’re pleased to now offer 35 weekly flights between Hawai‘i and five gateways in Japan with the launch of our new Fukuoka service.”
Hawaii has strong historical ties to Fukuoka dating back to 1885 when the first 149 immigrants arrived on the ship Yamashiromaru to work in Hawai‘i following King David Kalakaua’s signing of a treaty of reciprocity with Japan.
A century later, in 1981, the State of Hawaii passed a resolution establishing a Sister-State relationship with Fukuoka Prefecture, the first one in Hawaii’s history. Then- Hawai‘i Gov. George Ariyoshi, whose father Ryozo Ariyoshi came to Honolulu from Fukuoka, led the Sister-State initiative.
Fukuoka becomes Hawaiian’s fourth gateway city in Japan, which complements its existing network of nonstop service connecting the Hawaiian Islands with Osaka, Sapporo, and Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports.
The carrier now operates 35 weekly nonstop flights between Japan and Hawai‘i and will begin additional daily service between HNL and Tokyo Haneda on March 28.