I mua, meaning to move forward with purpose, has been a guiding principle for Hawaiian Airlines as we navigate the pandemic. While COVID-19 has brought setbacks, it has also given our company much to look forward to as we begin to rebuild our business. Among the silver linings is having the opportunity to bring our Hawaiian hospitality to new cities, including Austin, Orlando, Ontario, California, and expanding our presence in Long Beach with new nonstop service to Kahului.
While our routes, both old and new, have proven demand for travelers seeking to experience all that makes the Hawaiian Islands so special, our network serves another critical purpose: connecting kamaʻāina (residents) with the world beyond Hawai‘i. We’re proud to provide local communities with crucial transportation through our extensive network, offering nonstop options for our residents to go on essential travel and business trips and take family and leisure vacations.
For Tammy Amemiya, a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321neo first officer and Windward Oʻahu resident, our nonstop service between Honolulu and Orlando, which launched March 11 with two weekly flights, meant more chances to create and share memories with her two young boys.
“When I was a child, my parents took us to Disney, and it’s one of the most wonderful childhood memories that I have,” said Amemiya, who brought her family on our inaugural flight. “I wanted to share that experience with my two sons, and we did and had a blast. We wore our masks that whole time and planned in advance to get into the parks, which were open at 30 percent capacity.”
Before Hawaiian began serving Orlando, it was the second-largest travel market to Hawai’i that lacked a nonstop option and the second most popular destination for kamaʻāina after Las Vegas.
“Our direct Orlando flight opens up so many more opportunities for families to spend time together and made the long journey from Hawaiʻi significantly more seamless,” Amemiya added.
Our twice-weekly Honolulu-Austin service, which launches on April 21, also draws strong kamaʻāina demand and fills a connectivity gap.
Kimberly Ashley, a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant who lives on O‘ahu’s North Shore, partially grew up in Austin, a city that remains one of her favorite places to visit.
“I am very grateful that I still have family and friends in Austin, which I visit twice a year,” she said. “Austin has so much to offer – from live music to incredible Tex-Mex food – and I’m looking forward to working the flight so I can share some of my favorite Austin experiences with other kama'āina who have never been.”
Outside of our new routes, many of our Hawaiʻi guests – including our HawaiianMiles elite members – are ready to begin revisiting our existing markets. Josiah Castellanos, a Pualani Platinum member on Oʻahu, often travels on Hawaiian for work.
“I travel a lot for my job – mostly to San Jose, California. I work [and live] here in the islands but the company I work for is headquartered in the Bay Area, so most of my business trips involve going there,” he said.
Castellanos also frequently flies to Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles for business or to visit family who lives nearby. “Hawaiian makes it pretty easy for me to access the west coast,” he added.
Castellanos, to his surprise, is one of many kamaʻāina traveling on our inaugural Honolulu-Austin flight. “I’m excited to test it out,” he said, adding he plans to visit his brother in Dallas and explore the region’s national parks with his girlfriend.
Peter Dames, a Pualani Platinum member and the executive vice president of distribution, marketing and digital at Servco Toyota in Honolulu, is also eager to get back to his regular travel schedule. For years, Dames frequently traveled to Australia, Japan and the U.S. West Coast but paused his business travel due to the pandemic.
Until his international business trips can resume, Dames says he expects to travel to the U.S. West Coast to drop off his 18-year-old son at college, and he also plans to experience our newest routes.
“Before COVID-19, I was traveling primarily for business,” he said. “I try to fly Hawaiian as much as I can because I don’t like having connections, and Hawaiian can pretty much get me to most places that I need to be without having to connect.”