HONOLULU, June 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Amid festivities featuring Hawaiian music and hula, Hawaiian Airlines today launched a new era in its storied 80-year history with the inaugural flight of its new, wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, from Honolulu to Los Angeles.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, commented, "This is a historic day for Hawaiian Airlines that's been years in the making and sets us on a new course to improve our service to customers, grow our company, and expand the range of destinations we serve on both sides of the Pacific."
Passengers on the inaugural flight were greeted at the boarding gate in Honolulu with Hawaiian music and hula by the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders, and presented with fresh orchid lei to commemorate the first commercial flight aboard Hawaiian's new "fleet of the future."
Named Hokule'a or "star of gladness," for the star known as Arcturus that served as a guiding beacon for Polynesian voyagers in ancient times, the new, 294-seat A330 immediately adds 30 more seats per flight to Hawaiian's popular twice-daily Los Angeles-Honolulu route as the peak summer travel season begins.
Passengers flying in coach class will enjoy the comforts of more legroom and a state-of-the-art, on-demand entertainment system, with high-resolution LCD touch screen monitors in each seatback allowing them to choose from a wide selection of movies and video programs, audio channels and video games. Each system also includes a USB port allowing connectivity for personal media players. First class passengers will enjoy the added advantages of larger in-seat LCD screens and iPOD compatibility.
Among the passengers on today's Inaugural Flight were Gene and Melissa Caliwag of Mililani, who were randomly selected from more than 200,000 entries in an online sweepstakes by Hawaiian offering free tickets on the Inaugural Flight (return flight included) and three nights of accommodations at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. As fate would have it, the Caliwags submitted their entry to Hawaiian via Facebook on May 20, the same day as their 21st wedding anniversary.
Hawaiian's first A330 flight departed Honolulu today as Flight #2 at 1:15 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles at 9:35 p.m. The inaugural return flight of the A330 will depart Los Angeles on Saturday as Flight #1 at 8:35 a.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 11:25 a.m.
Hawaiian plans to introduce up to 27 new Airbus aircraft into its fleet by the end of the decade, representing a commitment of approximately $5 billion if all options are exercised. Hawaiian is initially leasing three new A330s, the third of which will join its fleet in November, and has a purchase agreement with Airbus to acquire seven A330s starting in 2011 and six A350XWB-800 (Extra Wide-Body) aircraft starting in 2017, along with purchase rights for an additional five A330s and six A350s.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian is the nation's highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in 2009 in the 20th annual Airline Quality Rating study, having earned that distinction in three of the past four years. Hawaiian has also led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past six years (2004-2009) and has been an industry leader in fewest misplaced bags during that same period (#1 from 2005-2007, #2 in 2008 and 2009) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the top domestic airline offering flights to Hawaii.
Now in its 81st year of continuous service for Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state's primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 150 daily jet flights between the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com.
SOURCE Hawaiian Airlines