HONOLULU, Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Hawaiian Airlines today launched its inaugural flight from Honolulu to Sapporo, Japan, and restored nonstop service between the two cities that had been discontinued by other carriers nine years earlier.
Passengers of the inaugural flight enjoyed a festive island-style send-off at Honolulu International Airport before boarding, featuring Hawaiian music and hula, a traditional Hawaiian blessing, presentation of fresh flower lei, and a special performance honoring the Japanese culture.Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, said, "We are delighted to be restoring the convenience of nonstop service to Hawai'i for travelers in Hokkaido and look forward to bringing increasing numbers of visitors from the region to our island home. At the same time, we know that many of our customers in Hawai'i and North America with an affinity for Japan will take the opportunity of this new service to experience the unique sites and cultural attractions of northern Japan." The capital city of the island of Hokkaido, Japan's second-largest and northernmost island, Sapporo is Japan's fourth-largest city with a population of 1.9 million. Sapporo is renowned for its ski resorts – the city hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics – and the world-famous Sapporo Snow Festival, which annually attracts millions of visitors each February to see its spectacular snow and ice sculptures. Hawaiian's Honolulu- Sapporo service is adding 41,000 new air seats to the market annually and the benefit to Hawai'i's visitor industry will be significant, according to the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. "Today's launch of Hawaiian Airlines' new Sapporo route is great news for Hawai'i's tourism economy and will generate an estimated $61 million in visitor spending and $6.7 million in state tax revenue," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. "The flight will also provide residents of Hokkaido with its only direct access to Hawai'i. We remain committed to working with Hawaiian Airlines to ensure the success of this flight and providing visitors greater accessibility to our state." Hawaiian's Flight HA 441 departs Honolulu International Airport on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 2:45 p.m., crosses the international dateline, and arrives at Sapporo's New Chitose Airport at 7:00 p.m. the following day. The return flight HA 442 departs Sapporo on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 9:30 p.m., crosses the international dateline, and arrives in Honolulu at 9:55 a.m. the same day. Hawaiian will operate its Honolulu- Sapporo flights offering the comfort and roominess of its wide-body, twin-aisle Boeing 767-300ER aircraft seating 264 passengers, with 18 in Business Class and 246 in the Main Cabin. Travelers will enjoy a customized presentation of Hawaiian's signature inflight hospitality program, combining its celebration of the islands' culture, people, and Aloha Spirit with entertainment options and special onboard products designed for the Japanese traveler. Sapporo is the fourth city in Japan that Hawaiian has introduced nonstop service in the past two years following Tokyo ( November 2010), Osaka ( July 2011), and Fukuoka ( April 2012). Tickets can be purchased online at www.HawaiianAirlines.com , by calling Hawaiian's reservations department toll-free in the U.S. at 1-800-367-5320, or through its Japanese-language website at www.HawaiianAirlines.co.jp or by calling its sales office in Japan at 03-5405-8761. About Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past eight years (2004-2011) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer surveys by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the highest of all domestic airlines serving Hawai'i. Now in its 83 rd year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawai'i's biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service from its primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawai'i from more U.S. gateway cities (11) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. New nonstop service will begin between Honolulu and Sapporo, Japan ( October 30, 2012), Brisbane, Australia ( November 27, 2012), and Auckland, New Zealand ( March 13, 2013). Hawaiian also provides approximately 170 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. Follow updates on Twitter about Hawaiian (@HawaiianAir) and its special fare offers (@HawaiianFares), and become a fan on its Facebook page (Hawaiian Airlines).