Gina and Pua

Since Hawaiian Airlines became the first to take scheduled cargo service to the skies in 1942, its business – and employee demographic – continuously evolved to meet the needs of the time. As women’s entry into the workforce increased over the decades, their presence in aviation eventually took flight, also expanding to the air freight industry. What began as a mostly male sector has neared equilibrium in representation.

Cargo wahine


At Hawaiian Air Cargo, the freight arm of Hawaiian Airlines, that balance has been struck: wāhine (women) now make up 50% of all cargo employees, a 12-percentage point increase across the operation over the past decade. Within that group, 48% are cargo agents with an average tenure of 17.5 years.

“Hawaiian Air Cargo is the tight-knit community it is today because each employee is intent on making sure everyone feels included and supported in their role,” said Dana Knight, director of commercial cargo at Hawaiian Airlines. “Cargo can be a very physical job; it requires workers to lift heavy objects, operate forklifts, be on their feet all day, etc. But regardless of the task or someone's gender identity, expectations are the same and there are no assumptions that one person could do it better than the other.”

In honor of Womenʻs History Month, the Hawaiian Air Cargo wāhine shared what they love most about their jobs.  

Gina and Pua


Delrie “Kuʻuipo" Anderson, cargo capacity supervisor, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu)

Tenure: 13 years 

One of the many things I love about my job is the meaningful impact Hawaiian Air Cargo has on Hawai’i and beyond. Every day, we are moving fresh foods, dry goods, pets and more, directly supporting the communities we serve. I was honored to be part of the Hawaiian Airlines Mālama Maui team helping to get needed goods and supplies to Maui after the Lāhaina wildfire. Hawaiian Airlines offers me the chance to make a positive difference every day and Iʻm proud to work for our hometown carrier.  


Tennille “Moani” Eckart, cargo agent, Hilo International Airport

Tenure: 10 years

I enjoy performing tasks within cargo that others might find repetitive; the consistency helps me maintain a steady workflow. I also love building relationships with customers because it allows me to communicate with them on a first-name basis and forge more positive connections in my life. I particularly enjoy handling dog shipments (with a special fondness for poodles)! 

Leinaala Faavela


Leina‘ala Fa‘avea, cargo agent, Kahului Airport

Tenure: Five years

I like the challenges that we face in cargo and that every day is different. I also love the family vibe; my team is a great team to work with and very easygoing. It doesn’t matter what life throws at us in cargo; we always have each other, and we can do anything together. We make the best of what we have, and that shared mentality makes it easier to work. I also like the relationships we build with our customers and each other.


Kim Nagata, cargo agent, Kahului Airport

Tenure: Seven years 

Working in cargo means everything to me, especially being around different Hawaiian Airlines aircraft. Not too many people get that opportunity. 

I also came from the ramp where it is mostly men. Over time, I developed a camaraderie with the guys, and they all became my friends, but now I come into cargo and I’m like, “Yay! Women are at the helm now.” But, you know, everyone who works here is awesome. Everyone is always helping each other. We all work hard, and we all have each other’s backs. 

Layna Leanne Kayana Brittney and Jerrilee


Leanne Nishimoto-Liu, cargo agent, Līhuʻe Airport

Tenure: 20 years 

I enjoy working with others in our team… and that makes work not feel like work – especially when working alongside the "Mama Hens."  I feel like we get to know our customers on a different level, like learning where they work and what they do. They are a big part of our everyday job and they help make cargo, cargo!


Tiaina “Tia” Taala, cargo agent, Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

Tenure: Eight years

This role offers a balanced lifestyle that has allowed me to focus on starting a family. The joyful news of expecting my second child has recently underscored this commitment to balance, and I appreciate my supportive work network at cargo. My kids get to enjoy more aunties and my daughter gets to experience more Mana Wahine (power women) who will influence her work ethic as she grows.

Ramp agent


Hawaiian continues to make progress in welcoming more qualified veterans, wāhine and other historically underrepresented groups to its 'ohana. For example, wāhine make up 9.5% of its entire pilot group — well above the 4.9% national average (2022) and 5.8% global average (2021).

Knight added, “Across our airline, there’s this shared acknowledgment of equal capability and understanding that at the end of the day, we need to take care of each other so that we can then pass that mālama (care) down to our customers and guests.”