first airline and the pioneering carrier of the Pacific—celebrated its
Diamond Anniversary today with a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony
near the same location and at nearly the same time that it launched
passenger air service in Hawaii 75 years ago. Joshua Gotbaum, Hawaiian’s Trustee, stated, “For 75 years, Hawaiian
Airlines has served the people and travelers of Hawaii, doing so better
and better. Today, Hawaiian offers some of the best service of any
airline. How many 75-year-olds can say they are the best they’ve ever
Hawaiian’s anniversary celebration featured its ticket lobby at the
Honolulu International Airport being adorned in balloons, banners and
floral arrangements, roving musicians and keiki hula dancers, and 10,000
fresh flower lei given to customers. The ceremony concluded with a
blessing by Kahu Richard Kamanu, followed by the presentation of a
specially decorated cake for employees and singing of “Happy Birthday.”
Also unveiled was a commemorative 75th anniversary quilt created by
Hawaiian Airlines employees showcasing photos and mementos from the
airline’s long and storied history. The quilt will be displayed in
Honolulu before touring Hawaiian’s airport stations on the Neighbor
Among the dignitaries taking part in the festivities from Hawaii’s
political, airline, and business arenas was Hawaii Lieutenant Governor
James “Duke” Aiona, Jr., who praised Hawaiian and its employees for 75
years of service to Hawaii and its communities.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and chief operating officer, noted,
“Without question, one of the keys to our success has been the unflinching
dedication to customer service by Hawaiian’s employees. Their pride has
been the wellspring for 75 years of history-making achievements.”
On November 11, 1929, Inter-Island Airways (the name changed to Hawaiian
Airlines in October 1941) began operating flights between the islands with
two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian propeller planes. The “state-of-the-art”
aircraft had a carrying capacity of eight passengers and two crewmembers,
and a top cruising speed of 110 miles per hour.
The inaugural flight from Honolulu to Hilo with a stop on Maui took more
than three hours. The next day the fledgling airline made its first-ever
flight to Kauai and within a week flights were underway to all the islands.
In 1930, its first full year of operations, the company carried 10,367
passengers between the islands—a figure it now exceeds on a daily basis
—and another 2,500 sightseers over Honolulu. As the years passed, being
first became a recurring theme for Hawaii’s first airline.
Hawaiian introduced airmail service in Hawaii (October 8, 1934). It was
the nation’s first carrier to be federally certified for scheduled air
freight service (March 20, 1942); the first airline to introduce jet
service between the Hawaiian Islands (April 1, 1966); the nation’s first
airline to fly a scheduled flight with an all-female crew (March 6, 1979);
and the first Hawaii-based carrier to introduce scheduled service to the
mainland U.S. (June 12, 1985).
Today, Hawaiian operates a high-tech 25-jet fleet that averages 130
flights daily—100 flights serving the islands of Hawaii and 30
transpacific flights to the West Coast, South Pacific, and Australia. In
2003, the airline transported more than 5.6 million passengers.
Hawaiian’s 75th anniversary year has been its best—financially and
operationally. The company opened 2004 by launching a new nonstop route
connecting Honolulu and Sydney.
Hawaiian then established itself as an industry leader in customer service
highlighted by the nation’s best performance for punctuality, according to
the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Year-to-date through
September (the most recent DOT data available), more than 93 percent of
Hawaiian’s flights had arrived on time, the industry’s best record by far.
The DOT also reported that, through the first nine months, Hawaiian had
one of the nation’s best records for baggage handling, fewest flight
cancellations, and lowest numbers of consumer complaints.
Two innovative customer-oriented programs introduced recently reaffirmed
Hawaiian’s commitment to staying ahead of the competition. It became the
first transpacific carrier to introduce the digEplayer laptop personal
entertainment system, making the experience of its award-winning “Hawaii
Starts Here” in-flight service even more enjoyable.
Hawaiian then became the nation’s first carrier to introduce a mobile
skycap service called BaggageDirect.com. Customers can have their baggage
picked up from home or office, receive their boarding passes, and avoid
the airport check-in process altogether. It’s no hassle, no fuss, and a
hit with customers.