Friday, July 2, 2010

Hawaiian Air to launch direct service to Korea

I have a boatload of unfinished posts on the effects on Hawaii of South Korea being added to the visa waiver program (trust me, K-blogosphere netizens, Hawaii does give a rat's ass), but for now I'll try to do the timely thing and mention one of the apparent effects of the move: Hawaiian Air will have direct flights to the Seoul area's Incheon International Airport (the airport name is the only time you will see me add that ugly and extraneous 'e' to Inchon).

From USA Today:
Hawaiian Airlines plans to add nonstop service to Seoul-Incheon International Airport in January, the carrier announced Wednesday. The service, which would be from Hawaiian Airlines' hub at Honolulu International, is pending approval from the South Korea government, the company says in a press release.

Initially, Hawaiian plans to fly the Honolulu-Seoul route four times a week using 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Hawaii's KHON 2 TV writes Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley "hopes to expand the service to daily flights in the near future, when Hawaiian can bring on new aircraft."

Meanwhile, Hawaiian used the new Korea service to tout its global ambitions. The carrier says in its release that the Seoul "announcement follows Hawaiian's plans to begin daily service between Honolulu and Tokyo's Haneda International Airport later this year and is seen as the latest step in Hawaiian's long-term plans to expand its service in Asia."

The Pacific Business News of Honolulu writes "if the new flights are approved by South Korea's Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, this will be Hawaiian Airlines' sixth international route as it continues its aggressive expansion into the Asia market while boasting a new fleet of aircraft.
The article goes on to mention the economic importance, saying that the 54,000 seats per year could bring in $100 million to the state's economy.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser echoed the same theme:
Mike McCartney, HTA's president and chief executive, said the Hawaiian flight not only will provide a new route out of Incheon, but also an alternative transfer point for travelers from China and other parts of Asia who are looking to visit Hawaii.

He said given that Korean visitors spent an average of $238 a person per day in the first quarter, the additional Hawaiian flight could generate up to $19.4 million in annual visitor expenditures.

"As Hawaiian grows, Hawaii grows," McCartney said. "Hawaiian Air is to Hawaii what Korean Air is to Korea. We're excited about this new relationship because Asia is a gateway to Hawaii's future. It will bring Asia to Hawaii and Hawaii to Asia."

Korean Air, a code-share partner of Hawaiian, operates 10 flights a week to Honolulu from Seoul-Incheon Airport.
That code-sharing is a sweet deal for me, since it will help me rack up more useful mileage (between KAL and Asiana, I have some four or five trans-Pacific flights coming to me).

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