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Hawaiian Airlines Files Application to Begin Tokyo-Kona Flights

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Tuesday, 6 January 2015
 

Hawaiian Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to begin daily, non-stop flights this summer between Tokyo International Airport at Haneda (HND) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawai'i Island.

The airline's action was prompted by the U.S. DOT's decision last month to review the public interest served by Delta Air Lines' Seattle-Tokyo route after Delta reduced its frequency from daily to seasonal.

In its application, Hawai'i's flagship carrier urged the U.S. DOT to reallocate Delta's Haneda frequency based on market data, noting that Hawaiian Airlines' Honolulu-Tokyo service has been "by far the most, if not only, successful route" of the four Haneda slot pairs granted to U.S. carriers in 2010.

"Kona continues to be a top destination for Japanese travelers, and we are more certain than ever that direct service to West Hawai'i is the highest and best use for the scarce Haneda slots that are at stake here," said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. "This route would provide unmatched public benefit by improving U.S. exports, boosting spending and economic growth within the United States and increasing U.S. jobs."

The Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) estimates that the proposed daily service will generate 531,721 visitor days and $146 million in visitor expenditures. Hawaiian Airlines' application calculates that service directly to Kona will attract 39,000 additional visitors and result in 1,151 new jobs and $65 million in new direct spending.

The application has the full support of Governor David Ige and Hawai'i Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.

"The increase in visitor days and corresponding visitor expenditures this route would provide will also generate significant and positive impact not only on our local economy, but on the economy of the United States," noted Gov. Ige. "It is good news for the State that Hawaiian Airlines is actively pursuing this route, and we hope the Department of Transportation will favorably consider Hawaiian Airlines' application."

"The County of Hawai'i would welcome the opportunity to host an additional 39,000 visitors from Japan," said Mayor Kenoi. "Our island has had a strong relationship with Japanese visitors for many years, and we are confident that this route will be a commercial success. We are thankful that Hawaiian Airlines remains committed to our island and our residents, and we will work with our Federal and State counterparts to ensure this route's success."

As it has with past applications, Hawaiian Airlines will be seeking petition signatures and letters of support for the route from all communities of Hawai'i. Petitions are available online at the airline's online advocacy webpage.

If approved, this would be Hawaiian Airlines' fifth Japan route and third daily non-stop flight between Japan and Hawai'i, joining daily service to Honolulu from Tokyo and Osaka and thrice-weekly service between Honolulu, Sendai and Sapporo.

Hawaiian Airlines anticipates it will begin service on or about 1 June 2015, utilizing its fleet of 20 294-seat A330-200 aircraft. The departure and arrival times will vary depending on time of year.

Hawaiian Airlines, Tokyo, Japan

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