HONOLULU, June 30, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Taking another significant step in expanding its international route network, Hawaiian Airlines today announced that it will introduce new nonstop flights between Honolulu and Seoul-Incheon International Airport starting in January 2011, pending approval from South Korea's Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs (MLTM).
The 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.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, said, "The addition of Incheon is an important step in our vision to expand Hawaiian's business into the fastest growing region in the world. This new nonstop service from one of the world's largest gateway cities will increase visitors to Hawaii not only from Korea, but from all of Asia."
South Korea is a key visitor market targeted by Hawaii's state tourism marketers as one offering significant potential for growth with its recent addition to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Seoul, the nation's capital city, has grown into a teeming metropolis with a population of more than 11 million people, representing almost 25 percent of the entire county's population. Its modern international airport at Incheon (ICN) is one of the largest air traffic hubs in Asia and has been recognized by Airports Council International as the Best Airport Worldwide for five consecutive years.
"Incheon welcomes Hawaiian Airlines," said CW Lee, President and CEO of Incheon International Airport Corporation. "We have been looking forward to this new service, because in less than two years with the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) between the USA and South Korea, the number of Korean travelers to Hawaii has exploded, with a record-breaking increase of 91 percent in the first quarter of 2010."
Hawaiian will initially operate its new service four times weekly using 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, adding more than 54,000 new air seats annually between Honolulu and Incheon. The company plans to increase service on the route in 2011 as its long range fleet expansion progresses.
Flight #459 is planned to depart Honolulu International Airport on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1:15 p.m. and arrive at Incheon International Airport at 8:00 p.m. the following day. Flight #460 will depart Incheon on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 10:00 p.m. and arrive in Honolulu at 10:45 a.m. the same day. South Korea is 19 hours ahead of Honolulu and the flight crosses the International Dateline.
Hawaiian designed its flight schedule for the convenience of Hawaii visitors from Seoul, with the departure taking place after a day of work, followed by a late-morning arrival allowing for time to enjoy a full first afternoon in Hawaii and easy flight connections to the Neighbor Islands.
The 11-hour flight between Honolulu and Incheon will cover a distance of approximately 4,500 miles. HawaiianMiles members can immediately start earning and redeeming mileage award benefits on the new flights.
Korean Air Code Share Expanded
Hawaiian also announced that its code sharing agreement with Korean Air will be expanded to include Hawaiian's new flights to Incheon, pending MLTM approval. This means Korean Air's two-letter flight designator will be attached to Hawaiian's flights between Incheon and Honolulu in global reservations systems, allowing both carriers to market the service.
"This reinforces our seamless service with Hawaiian Airlines," says Korean Air's Director of Marketing for the Americas, John Jackson. "Korean Air customers are being offered more choices and that's good for both airlines. We look forward to expanding this valuable partnership."
Under the carriers' code share agreement, travelers were already able to book flights with Hawaiian that are operated by Korean Air between Honolulu and Incheon in South Korea, and Bangkok, Thailand, as well as flights within South Korea between Incheon and Busan.
Travelers can also continue to book flights with Korean Air that are operated by Hawaiian between the islands of Hawaii, as well as Hawaiian's transpacific flights between Hawaii and the mainland U.S.
Hawaiian and Korean Air plan to continue expanding their code sharing agreement by adding service to more destinations in Asia.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian is the nation's highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in 2009 in the 20th annual Airline Quality Rating study, having earned that distinction in three of the past four years. Hawaiian has also led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past six years (2004-2009) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Travel consumer surveys consistently rank Hawaiian the top domestic airline serving Hawaii.
Now in its 81st year of continuous service for Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state's primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 150 daily jet flights between the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com.
About Korean Air
Korean Air, with a fleet of 130 aircraft, is one of the world's top 15 airlines with almost 400 passenger flights per day to 117 cities in 39 countries. It is a founding member of SkyTeam, partnering Aeroflot, AeroMexico, Air France, Alitalia, China Southern Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Air Lines, KLM and three Associates to provide customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. More on Korean Air's programs, routes, frequency and partners is available at http://www.koreanair.com/.
SOURCE Hawaiian Airlines