HONOLULU, November 11, 1999 - Hawaiian Airlines, which introduced interisland air travel in 1929 with eight-passenger Sikorsky amphibian biplanes, will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Thursday, November 11, by opening a public display featuring the future of interisland air travel- the company's new state-of-the-art Boeing 717-200 aircraft.
The life-sized model of a 717 cabin section will be on display near Gate 59 in the departure lobby of Honolulu International Airport's Interisland Terminal through the end of the year.
Hawaiian Airlines will be one of the first airlines in the world to acquire a fleet of advanced-design Boeing 717-200 aircraft. The company has agreed to purchase up to 20 of the state-of-the-art airplanes, with delivery of the first plane expected in late 2001. The carrier's confirmed order of 13 aircraft is valued at more than $430 million.
In addition to offering the wider seats and larger overhead bins than other narrowbodied commercial aircraft, the 717-200 features "next-generation" technology, from the "glass cockpit" flight deck to the advanced aerodynamics that contribute to greater fuel efficiency and the lowest noise levels of any plane in its class.
As part of its 70th anniversary, Hawaiian Airlines also will be giving its passengers on flights on November 11 a gift of a limited-edition commemorative coin and 2-for-1 certificates for purchase of Lion Coffee.
Hawaiian Airlines began Hawaii's first scheduled interisland air service as Inter-Island Airways on November 11, 1929. The inaugural flight that day was from Honolulu to Hilo, with a stop on Maui. The next day's flight was to Kauai.
The company's first aircraft, a Sikorsky S-38 amphibian, could land on water or land, carrying a maximum of eight passengers, a pilot and a first mate.
According to a contemporary news report of the inaugural flight in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: "Governor Lawrence M. Judd declared today, 'We are gathered together this morning for the celebration of one of the most outstanding events in the history of the development of the territory of Hawaii - the inauguration of the first inter-island air service on a regular schedule.'"
Other reports called the development "a dream realized," and described how Honolulu residents gathered at John Rodgers Airport in great numbers to watch "the inauguration of a new era." Army and Navy planes escorted Hawaiian's Sikorskys to Diamond Head "with spectacular formation flights."
Hawaiian Airlines grew with Hawaii. Today, it is the 12th largest airline in the United States and the second largest carrier of passengers between the Islands and the West Coast. The company operates an all-jet fleet of widebody McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland and McDonnell Douglas DC-9s on flights among the islands of Hawaii. Its DC-10 South Pacific service also links Honolulu and American Samoa.