Inside the Aloha State's Latest Flight News

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Hawaiian Airlines made history this week when it announced it will launch once daily non-stop service between Kauai's Lihue Airport (LIH) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawaii Island, marking the first time in the airline's history that it will connect Lihue and Kona with a direct flight, according to a Hawaiian Airlines news release.

But this wasn’t the only big news to come out of the Hawaiian skies recently. From another new Kauai flight to the ongoing expansion of Hawaiis inter-island carrier, Island Air, Travel Agent breaks down the hottest air travel news out of Hawaii.

Delta Announces New Flights Between Seattle and Kauai

Delta has announced that it will be adding a daily nonstop flight between Kauai and Seattle on December 21.

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The flight connecting Lihue and Seattle will use Boeing 757 aircraft and will add 63,510 air seats per year to Kauai, according to a Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) news release. 

The route will generate an estimated $77.9 million in direct visitor spending for Kauai and some $9.1 million in tax revenue for the state, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org

New Hawaiian Airlines Flight Will Connect Lihue and Kona For First Time in Carrier’s History

Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii's flagship carrier, announced that it will launch once daily non-stop service between Kauai's Lihue Airport (LIH) and Kona International Airport (KOA) on Hawaii Island beginning Sunday, March 12. 

This is the first time in the airline's history that it will connect Lihue and Kona with a direct flight, according to a Hawaiian Airlines news release.

"Demand from our kamaaina and visitors for travel between Hawaii Island and Kauai has been growing steadily over the past few years," said Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines, in a written release. “We are proud to now offer our guests direct access between these islands, in addition to our connecting flights through Honolulu or Maui. This gives travelers greater flexibility and convenience when traveling through the Hawaiian Islands." 

The 263-mile flight becomes Hawaiian's longest “Neighbor Island” route, besting its flights between Hilo,Hawaii Island (ITO) and Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu by nearly 60 miles.  

Flights depart Kona at 9:38 a.m. and arrive in Kauai at 10:36 a.m. Return flights depart Kauai at 3:44 p.m. and arrive back in Kona at 4:44 p.m.

Visit www.hawaiianairlines.com

New Q400 Turboprop Planes Position Island Air for Growth, Expansion

Island Air recently held a blessing and naming ceremony for the first of three new Q400 turboprop airplanes it is acquiring as part of a long-term plan to upgrade its fleet and expand the company’s presence in Hawaii's inter-island market. 

Island Air owners, managers and employees, along with elected officials, visitor industry partners and other special guests gathered at the Island Air hangar off Lagoon Drive to bless and dedicate the new aircraft prior to its inaugural inter-island flight.

The first Q400 aircraft is named Ola Kupono, which means “safety in everything we do.” The names of future planes will focus on other core values including genuineness, doing the right thing, accountability, striving for the highest summit, trust and persistence.

With the addition of the new aircraft, which is currently in service, Island Air will increase the number of daily roundtrips between Honolulu and Kahului from six to seven, and the number of daily roundtrips between Honolulu and Kona from five to six. 

The new flight schedule also will see slight time changes in the six daily roundtrips between Honolulu andLihue. The new flight schedule is available on Island Air’s website at www.islandair.com/flight-schedules.

Island Air plans to convert to a full fleet of new Q400 aircraft and transition its existing fleet of five ATR-72aircraft out of service. The Q400 turboprops are being leased through leasing company Elix Aviation Capital Limited. The agreement includes three Q400 aircraft. The second Q400 is scheduled to arrive later this week, and the third is expected to be delivered in April.

Visit www.islandair.com

Hawaiian Airlines Sets Passenger Record for 2016

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. announced that it welcomed a record 11,050,911 guests in 2016, a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year. 

Hawaii's largest and longest-serving airline announced its system-wide traffic statistics for the month, quarter and full year ending December 2016.

The record passenger count in 2016 marks 12 straight years of growth as the airline continues to expand its network and fleet, providing travelers with more options to fly to and within the Hawaiian Islands than any other carrier, according to a Hawaiian Airlines news release.

In July, Hawaiian launched daily non-stop service between Narita and Honolulu international airports, and last month it inaugurated triweekly service between Haneda and Kona international airports. 

This past summer Hawaiian added one A330-200 aircraft (bringing the company's A330 fleet to 23), and took delivery of two Boeing B717-200s in November and December for a total of 20 of the aircraft type. The company also operates eight Boeing 767s on transpacific routes and three turboprop ATR-42 through its inter-island subsidiary, 'Ohana by Hawaiian.

The carrier has also recently unveiled several product investments to enhance the flight experience, including the debut of a new Premium Cabin featuring lie-flat seating and luxury amenities, additional Extra Comfortseating, and a first-class auction upgrade service called "Bid Up."

Visit www.hawaiianairlines.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest Hawaii news. And be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and on Instagram @pike5260.

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