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Hawaiian to Launch Taipei Service Next July

December 3, 2012, 8:39 AM HST · Updated December 3, 10:28 AM
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Hawaiian Airlines, photo by Wendy Osher.

By Sonia Isotov

Hawaiian Airlines today announced plans to launch nonstop service between Taipei, Taiwan and Honolulu in July 2013, further extending the airline’s strategic expansion into Asia.

The new service, which would operate three times a week, capitalizes on the extension of the US Visa Waiver Program to cover citizens of Taiwan.

“We have long known that there is demand for a Hawai’i vacation in Taiwan, but visits have been impeded by the cost, complexity and time it has taken its citizens to apply for a US visitor visa.,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines, in a written statement.

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“Now that Taiwan is part of the US Visa Waiver Program, we are delighted to be adding Taipei as the latest city in Hawaiian’s growing Asia network.”

According to Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, “this outcome is the culmination of eighteen months of work in the state and federal government to build better relations and to make commerce and travel easier between America and Taiwan, and Hawai`i and Taiwan in particular,” said Schatz.

In 2011, a group of Hawai`i tourism leaders, led by Schatz, met with then Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce John Bryson, and urged his department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State to grant Taiwan Visa Waiver status.

Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz, file photo by Wendy Osher.

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Earlier this year, in May of 2012, Schatz led a delegation of state leaders to Taiwan and personally met with Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-Jeou, and they discussed economic cooperation. President Ma had said that the visa waiver program was the most important next step.

“This is a totally new market for Hawai`i, and one that has great potential. Taiwanese travelers are interested in coming to Hawai`i, and this step makes it easy,” said Schatz.

Hawaiian will operate the Taipei-Honolulu route using its new 294-seat, wide-body Airbus A330-200 aircraft, adding nearly 46,000 new air seats to the market annually to the benefit of Hawaii’s visitor industry.

According to the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the economic impact of restoring nonstop service from Taipei will be significant for Hawai’i. “We anticipate reaching 10,642 visitors from Taiwan in 2012 and this new flight will help to further increase arrivals from this region,” said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

“Following Korea’s entrance to the Visa Waiver Program, arrivals from Korea have increased by double-digits year over year. With the re-establishment of nonstop service, we would anticipate seeing similar growth from Taiwan.”

Taipei will be the ninth new gateway that Hawaiian has introduced or announced new service to since November 2010, following Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; New York City; Brisbane, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand.

Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and its economic center, with the surrounding metropolitan area of Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung being home to nearly 7 million people.

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