HONOLULU, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Hawaiian Airlines, the pioneering carrier of the Pacific and one of the nation's longest-serving carriers, today celebrated its 80th anniversary of continuous service for Hawaii.
Hawaiian's airport stations statewide were decorated to recognize the historic occasion, and arriving passengers at Honolulu International Airport were greeted with fresh flower lei and serenaded with live Hawaiian music.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, noted the significance of the anniversary and thanked employees and customers. "Hawaiian Airlines has been flying since essentially the dawn of commercial aviation and has weathered the turbulence of a stormy business over 80 years. That is a remarkable achievement in itself, considering all the iconic airlines in history that never reached this milestone," said Dunkerley.
"It is a credit to our dedicated employees and our loyal customers that we are able to celebrate Hawaiian's rich 80-year history in aviation and envision a promising future as we work to continue growing and diversifying our service," Dunkerley said.
Hawaiian's 80th anniversary year has been devoted to giving back to the community. In May, the company presented a $150,000 cash and in-kind donation to Bishop Museum that includes the transporting of museum curators and educators to schools and communities on the Neighbor Islands through 2011 in support of its Holoholo Science educational outreach program.
During summer and fall, Hawaiian partnered with The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii on a series of projects to help restore native Hawaiian habitats on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. In addition, Hawaiian is promoting the message of environmental conservation through its inflight video and other communication channels, and has provided a $10,000 gift in support of the Conservancy's programs.
Other 80th anniversary year highlights for Hawaiian included the restoration and returning to Hawaii of the company's original airplane, a 1929 Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker, and introducing new employee uniforms with a contemporary print design linked to Hawaii's culture and history.
This past Saturday, November 7, Hawaiian hosted its 80th anniversary employee celebration at Bishop Museum, a daylong festival attended by more than 4,000 employees and family members featuring games and activities, free food, and a concert by Raiatea Helm, The Makaha Sons, and Cecilio & Kapono.
On November 11, 1929, Inter-Island Airways (the company changed its name to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) launched Hawaii's first-ever scheduled interisland air service using two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian propeller planes that carried eight passengers and two crewmembers, and had a top cruising speed of 110 MPH.
The company's inaugural flight 80 years ago from Honolulu to Hilo, with a stop on Maui, took more than three hours. The first flight to Kauai was made the following day and all the Hawaiian Islands were soon receiving air service on a regular basis.
Along with being Hawaii's first commercial airline, Hawaiian's 80-year history of service has featured several other notable achievements, including:
Today, Hawaiian has a fleet of 33 aircraft -- 15 Boeing 717-200 jets for interisland flights in Hawaii and 18 Boeing 767-300 wide-body jets for transpacific and international service. Hawaiian is on pace to carry more than eight million passengers in 2009 -- its largest total ever.
Next April, Hawaiian will begin phasing in its next fleet of long-range aircraft with the arrival of the first two of up to 15 Airbus A330-200 jets it has on order or option, along with up to 12 "extra wide body" A350XWB-800 aircraft that are scheduled to begin arriving in 2017.