By Sonia Isotov
Pending approval from the Japanese government, Hawaiian Airlines today announced it will add daily nonstop flights between Honolulu and Fukuoka, its third destination in Japan.
The new Fukuoka route is expected to add approximately 100,000 new airline seats and Hawaiian has already begun hiring to fill the more than 400 new staff positions being added to accommodate its expansion plans for 2012. Over the next six months, the company expects to hire 56 additional pilots, 275 additional flight attendants, 38 additional airport customer service agents and 40 additional maintenance personnel to be based in Honolulu.
“Congratulations to Hawaiian Airlines on its announcement of direct service between Honolulu and Fukuoka,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, in the statement. “The new direct flight is outstanding news
for Hawaii’s visitor industry. This will be the only year-round daily scheduled service to Hawaii from Fukuoka, our sister state. It is another sign that Japan is on its way to recovery and there is increasing demand for travel to Hawaii. The HTA estimates the flight will provide $154 million in visitor spending and $16.8 million in tax revenue annually. The HTA is committed to supporting Hawaiian Airlines to ensure the long-term success of this new route.”
The new Fukuoka route will be the fourth destination in Asia that Hawaiian has introduced recently and is scheduled to begin in April 201. Hawaiian Airlines has already recently launched service to Tokyo in November 2010, Seoul in January 2011, and Osaka in July 2011.
“Demand for our services in Japan from Tokyo and Osaka has been extremely strong, and we are responding to similar demand for Hawaii from the travel community in Fukuoka,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, in a corporate statement today. “Our new Fukuoka flights will expand Hawaiian’s reach into an entirely new region of Japan, while providing a substantial boost to Hawaii’s visitor industry.”
The expectation is that Fukuoka Airport’s proximity to Korea, China and other Asian countries will enhance Hawaiian’s ability to attract customers from other regions of the Asian continent, as well as other cities in southern Japan via high-speed rail
Fukuoka is an attractive route for Hawaiian tourism as it is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and the economic center of Kyushu, the third largest and most southerly of Japan’s four main islands. Altogether, Kyushu has approximately 13 million residents, of which approximately five million residents live in Fukuoka Prefecture. Japan’s oldest city and the closest major Japan city to mainland Asia, Fukuoka is known for its vibrant culture, entertainment and nightlife, easy accessibility in and around the city, and its natural attractions, including some of Japan’s best beaches.
Subject to Japan government approval, the new Fukuoka route is scheduled to start April 16, 2012, and Hawaiian Flight #453 will depart Honolulu International Airport daily at 1:20 p.m. and arrive at Fukuoka Airport at 6:40 p.m. the next day. Starting April 17, Flight #454 will depart Fukuoka daily at 9:00 p.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 10:00 a.m. the same day.