Hawaiian Airlines Begins Daily Service to Osaka
By Sonia Isotov
Today, Hawaiian Airlines began daily service between Honolulu and Osaka, Japan, marketing the third time in eight months that Hawaiian Airlines began service to a new destination in Asia.
To celebrate the launch of its new route, Hawaiian treated today’s inaugural flight passengers to performances of Hawaiian music, hula and a Japanese cultural dance honoring Osaka’s beauty. Passengers also received fresh flower lei and participated in a traditional Hawaiian blessing before boarding the aircraft.
“Demand for our services in Japan has returned to pre-tsunami levels, and we are grateful for the enthusiastic response we are receiving from the people of Osaka. This new daily service reflects our confidence in the Japan market and in the important Kansai region in particular,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, in a written statement released by the company today.
Hawaiian Airlines predicts that the new daily, nonstop service from Osaka will add approximately 100,000 new air seats annually to Hawaii from Japan. Japan is the state’s second-largest market for visitors. Hawaiian also introduced service to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in November 2010 and Seoul’s Incheon International Airport in January 2011.
“The HTA estimates the Osaka route will generate up to $120 million in visitor spending and $18 million in tax revenue annually. Together, all three routes will provide up to $350 million in visitor spending and $38 million in tax revenue annually for Hawaii’s tourism economy,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) in a written statement.
It’s easy to understand why McCartney can see the economic impact so clearly when you consider that Osaka is a major economic and commercial center with approximately three million residents and is a part of the largest segment of the Keihanshin Area, which also includes the 18 million people resident in Kyoto and Kobe, Japan’s second-most populous area.
In addition, Osaka’s Kansai International Airport is a regional hub giving Hawaiian the capability to attract a broader range of customers from Asia via convenient flight connections from other cities in Japan, China and Asia, as well as same-day ground connections from several major cities in Japan.
Ticket sales began in April for Hawaiian’s Flight #449 which depart Honolulu International Airport daily at 2:20 p.m. and arrive at Kansai International Airport at 6:00 p.m. the next day. Return Flight #450 will depart Osaka daily at 9:30 p.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 10:50 a.m. the same day. (Osaka is 19 hours ahead of Honolulu and the flight crosses the International Dateline.)
Hawaiian will initially operate the Honolulu-Osaka flights with its 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, before introducing its new 294-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route.