Hawaiian Airlines today launched non-stop service to Auckland, the latest addition to its expanding international network. The first flight lands in Auckland at 6.55pm today.
The arrival of HA445 will be followed by gate side festivities that included Hawaiian music and hula, a performance honoring the Maori culture and a traditional Hawaiian blessing.
“We have been delighted by the interest in our new service, both here at home and in New Zealand,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO. “The deep cultural connections between our islands and the islands of Aotearoa make New Zealand a natural destination for Hawaiian and for our singular brand of authentic Hawaiian hospitality.”
Among the VIP guests on the inaugural flight are seven crewmembers of the traditional sailing canoe Hokule`a, whose groundbreaking 1985 voyage from Hawaii to Waitangi reintroduced the practice of celestial navigation to the Maori culture. The group is led by Hokule`a and Polynesian Voyaging Society captain Nainoa Thompson.
With today’s inaugural, Hawaiian Airlines becomes the only U.S. carrier flying into Auckland. Hawaiian’s market research indicates that non-stop service will release pent-up demand in New Zealand for a Hawai’i vacation. There are currently 30% fewer arrivals from New Zealand than in 1999 when the two destinations were served by more non-stop flights.
In addition, Hawaiian Airlines’ trans-Pacific and interisland route networks allow convenient connections throughout Hawai’i and in to 11 U.S. gateway destinations.
“Hawai’i is a perfect midpoint destination for the kind of extended vacation that New Zealanders prefer, and we are ideally situated to offer dual-destination holidays and easy connections from Auckland to places like San Francisco, Las Vegas or New York City,” commented Dunkerley. “And that works in reverse as well, making it easier than ever for U.S. residents to enjoy the wonders of New Zealand.”
Auckland Airport General Manager Aeronautical Commercial, Glenn Wedlock, says it’s great to say aloha to Hawaiian Airlines and welcome them to New Zealand.
“It is fantastic to have such a significant and fast growing US based carrier as Hawaiian Airlines arrive to help develop and stimulate markets both outbound and inbound to Hawaii and the mainland United States. The demand is certainly there and with holiday packages to Hawaii now around $1400 and airfare of $1599 to popular destinations such as Las Vegas or $1799 to New York we are seeing great market response and we forecast traffic doubling on the route.
“In fact due to high demand for their impending service, Hawaiian has already increased the number of their flights from three to four per week during the peak period, which is outstanding news for travellers. New campaigns have recently been launched in the US market promoting to US consumers the new flights and we expect to see relatively untapped inbound markets such as San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas and New York respond to a new and convenient way of visiting New Zealand.”
Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler welcomes Hawaiian Airlines’ arrival and echoes these sentiments, adding they are working together with the airline to promote travel to New Zealand.
“The United States is a vital market for New Zealand leisure and business travel, and is a key focus for our marketing efforts given the significant potential for growth that exists. Tourism New Zealand, Hawaiian Airlines and Auckland Airport will be launching a new joint venture marketing campaign on 19 March, set to run for the next month, offering a competitive fare for travellers from the West Coast of the USA to Auckland. In the coming days we will also be hosting some of Hawaiian Airlines’ key travel trade agents and travel bloggers, giving them an unforgettable 100% Pure New Zealand experience.”
In celebration of the start of Hawaiian Airlines Auckland service, iconic tourist landmark the Auckland Sky Tower will be lit in Hawaiian Airlines colours for three nights.
Hawaiian Airlines will operate three flights a week between Honolulu and Auckland using a 294-seat A330-200 aircraft.
Hawaiian Airlines’ Flight HA 445 will depart Honolulu International Airport at 1:45pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, cross the international dateline, and land at Auckland Airport at 9:55pm the following day. Flight HA 446 will depart Auckland at 11:55pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, cross the international dateline, and arrive in Honolulu at 9:45am the same day.
Travellers on Hawaiian Airlines enjoy an inflight experience not offered by any other airline. From the moment they board, Hawaiian’s signature ‘Mea Ho‘okipa’ (translation: I am host) onboard hospitality engages them throughout the flight with its warm and friendly celebration of the culture, people, and Aloha Spirit of the Hawaiian Islands.
The comfort, roominess and amenities of Hawaiian’s new A330 aircraft will add to the enjoyment of customers’ travel experience on the new route. With high-resolution LCD touch-screen monitors in each seatback, the A330’s state-of-the-art entertainment system lets customers choose from a wide range of movies, TV programmes, music, and video games, while also offering a USB port for the use of their own personal media players. Customers sitting in Business Class will also enjoy iPod compatibility.
As a full service leisure carrier, Hawaiian provides all of its passengers between New Zealand and Hawaii with complimentary meals, drinks and blankets, as well as selected in-seat video entertainment on its A330 aircraft.