Aloha! to Hawaiian Airlines
Another flag carrier from the United States, with the logo bearing a Hawaiian girl wearing a hibiscus behind her ear, will start flying to Korea next year, promising better service and a tropical experience.
Established in 1929, Hawaiian Airlines (HA) is one of the oldest carriers in the U.S. With a fleet of 34 airplanes, the airline operates some 150 routes within the islands of Hawaii daily and long-haul flights to the U.S. mainland, Australia and Philippines.
The carrier is now beginning to spread its wings to Northeast Asia ― Japan in November and Korean in January 2011. They will start operating the Incheon-Honolulu routes four times a week, with hopes of expanding to a daily service.
"Hawaii starts here. The second you step on a Hawaiian Airlines' airplane, you're experiencing Hawaii,” Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of HA, told The Korea Times.
We have had an interest in Korea for several years. And we've been waiting for the right moment ― the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the right economic conditions," Dunkerley continued. "Those two things have happened in last a few months and it created a perfect opportunity for us to fly here."
He said the VWP is particularly important for tourism traffic as it makes the U.S. far more approachable for Korean nationals.
"In price, HA’s fares will be cheaper than other airlines servicing the Incheon-Honolulu route to be "competitive." The exact fare will be revealed soon.
"We have a lot of competition, not only from Korean carriers, but many airlines providing connecting services also. So it is a very competitive market and we will charge competitively," he said.
"Most people visiting Hawaii from Korea will be interested in experiencing Hawaii, not only the place, but its culture and history," HA's president said. "Hawaiian Airlines represents its culture, in the same way Korean Air represents the Korean culture."
Hawaiian Airlines is known for its high quality service. It has earned the distinction of the best carrier for service quality and performance in 2009 in the U.S. Airline Quality Rating study.
"Our first priority is to make the people arrive on time, with their bags, safely. Secondly, the Hawaiian culture has a very strong sense of hospitality and our employees represent that in service," he said. "So the combination of the two has given the HA the number one place in service."
Dunkerley emphasized that Hawaii has something for everybody and it is an attractive destination for a broad target market.
"Whether you want to play golf, see the beauty of the scenery, experience the culture, honeymoon, take children to the beach or even to get married ― I understand why Korean celebrities choose Hawaii as their destination for a wedding ceremony," he said.
HA’s president has optimism in the service here. "I visit Korea frequently and it's very clear that Korea is an exciting, dynamic and vibrant society developing very quickly," The airline also expects a sizable Korean population in Hawaii to visit their family and friends in Korea and Hawaiians to see the excitement of Asia with their own eyes.
"For us, a new service to Korea is tremendously important, whether on the ground or in the air. Korean customers should rest assured that we will do our very best to take care of them."