Hawaiian Airlines marks 90 years with ceremonial flight

Nov 12, 2019

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Hawaiian Airlines marked nearly a centenary in the air Monday, recreating its first-ever flight from Honolulu to Hilo via Kahului.

The carrier operated flight HA1111 from Honolulu (HNL) to Kahului (OGG) on Maui and on to Hilo (ITO) to mark the anniversary of its first flight as Inter-Island Airways on Nov. 11, 1929. The trip took 1 hour and 52 minutes — including a 36 minute stop in Kahului — on a Boeing 717-200 Monday, according to Hawaiian’s website.

The same flight took Inter-Island Airways 3 hours, 15 minutes on a Sikorsky S‑38 airplane 90 years ago.

“The foresight of our founder Stanley Kennedy to introduce Hawaii to commercial aviation forever changed the way we travel across our archipelago for leisure and business,” Hawaiian CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement. “Today we honor Stan’s legacy and join with our employees to say ‘mahalo nui loa’ to our community and our guests.”

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Hawaiian Airlines precursor Inter-Island Airways began scheduled passenger flights with Sikorsky S‑38 aircraft on Nov. 11, 1929. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)
Hawaiian Airlines precursor Inter-Island Airways began scheduled passenger flights with Sikorsky S‑38 aircraft on Nov. 11, 1929. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

Hawaiian began life in its namesake state as a solely inter-island carrier. It added charter routes to the South Pacific in the early 1980s, and launched its first nonstop flights to the U.S. mainland with Lockheed L-1011s in 1985, according to its website.

The L-1011s were replaced with McDonnell Douglas DC-10s in 1994, and then by Boeing 767-300ERs in 2002. The 767s were supplemented with Airbus A330-200s in 2010, and then retired this January.

A Hawaiian Airbus A330 at New York JFK. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)
A Hawaiian Airbus A330 at New York JFK. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

Despite two Chapter 11 reorganizations in the 1990s and 2000s, Hawaiian has continued to expand. Flights to Australia began with Sydney (SYD) joining the network in 2004, and to Asia with Manila (MNL) beginning in 2008, according to Cirium schedule data.

Today, Hawaiian serves 14 destinations on the U.S. mainland, and 10 in Asia-Pacific including new flights to Fukuoka (FUK) in Japan that begin on Nov. 26.

Related: Hawaiian opens ticket sales for new flight to Tokyo Haneda

Hawaiian is the largest carrier to Hawaii with a 23% share of seats this year, according to Cirium schedules. It is second only to United Airlines in its share of seats between the islands and the mainland U.S.

And Hawaiian continues to dominate inter-island flying, like it did 90 years ago. Despite the splashy entrance of Southwest Airlines into the market in May, Hawaiian is scheduled to fly nearly 78% of the 5.4 million seats in the market during the six months ending in May. Southwest, which has only published schedules through June 6, is due to fly 19% of inter-island seats.

The airline continues to look towards the future with new Airbus A321neos opening new routes to the U.S. West Coast. Boeing 787s begin arriving in 2021 and will open new long-haul network opportunities, including possibly to the Midwest.

Related: Hawaiian could fill Midwestern ‘void’ with Dreamliners

Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram (left) poses with cabin crew in retro uniforms for ceremonial flight on Nov. 11, 2019, that marked the carrier
Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram (left) poses with cabin crew in retro uniforms for ceremonial flight on Nov. 11, 2019, that marked the carrier’s 90th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)
Hawaiian Airlines introduced the Airbus A321neo in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)
Hawaiian Airlines introduced the Airbus A321neo in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

To listen to an interview with Brian Kelly talking to the CEO of Hawaiian Airlines listen here:

Featured image courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines.

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