Hawaiian Airlines welcomed guests aboard its inaugural flights between Fukuoka Airport (FUK) and Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) with festive gate-side celebrations in both cities 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 performances 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 the inaugural flight, HA827, departed HNL on Nov. 26 at 11:20 a.m., arriving into FUK at 5:21 p.m. the following day.
In Fukuoka, Theo Panagiotoulias, Hawaiian's senior vice president of global sales and alliances, and John C. Taylor, principal officer of the U.S. consulate in Fukuoka joined guests in celebrating HA828, which departed FUK at 7:55 p.m.on Nov. 27. The flight's 8:45 a.m. scheduled arrival at HNL on the same day gives travelers the afternoon to explore O'ahu 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 Panagiotoulias. "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."
Guests traveling between Fukuoka and Honolulu will enjoy the roominess and comfort of Hawaiian's Airbus A330 aircraft, which features 18 fully flat Premium Cabin leather seats arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration tailored for couples, families and honeymooners while offering great functionality to business travelers. Hawaiian also offers 68 of its popular Extra Comfort seats with more legroom and enhanced amenities, in addition to 192 Main Cabin seats. All guests will enjoy Hawaiian's award-winning hospitality, including island-inspired meals prepared by Hawai'i's top chefs, as well as new in-flight amenities by Kealopiko, designers of contemporary island apparel.
Hawai'i 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 Hawai'i passed a resolution establishing a Sister-State relationship with Fukuoka Prefecture, the first one in Hawai'i'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.