HONOLULU – June 15, 2011 - Increasing its commitment to supporting recovery efforts in Japan, Hawaiian Airlines has joined “The Aloha Initiative,” a grassroots program offering respite in Hawaii for families displaced by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Initiated by Maui residents Keith Regan and Lynn Araki-Regan and Keith and Michiko-Lynn Powers, and led by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, the program expects to bring more than 100 affected Japan residents to Hawaii over the next few months to help the healing process by staying with host families on Maui and Oahu for up to 90 days.
The Aloha Initiative is paying all transportation costs through generous donations made by various businesses, including First Hawaiian Bank, and the general public.
Hawaiian is contributing free interisland flights, as well as substantially discounted fares between Japan and Honolulu, in support of the program.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO, commented, “Families affected by the disasters in Japan are facing a long road to recovery and we want to help provide as many as possible with some relief from life in shelters.”
“We are so grateful to Hawaiian Airlines for truly exemplifying the aloha spirit with their generous support for our respite program,” said Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Honorary Chair of The Aloha Initiative.
Lynn Araki-Regan, co-founder of The Aloha Initiative, said, “Without businesses and individuals coming together to show their support, this project would not even come close to becoming a reality.”
Volunteers of the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, are reviewing program applicants from Japan and matching them with host families in Hawaii. Priority is being given to those who are most in need of help and compassionate support during this difficult period. Program participants are expected to include a range of individuals and families affected by the natural disasters, such as orphans accompanied by guardians, adults who have lost spouses or children, and families who have lost all their possessions.
The first group of Aloha Initiative participants is tentatively scheduled to arrive in Honolulu from Japan on Tuesday, July 5. Some will be placed with host families on Oahu, while others will travel to their host families on Maui.
Ginny McKee, a project manager for Hawaiian, is a member of The Aloha Initiative’s organizational committee and has been instrumental in securing air transportation for the program. A Kula resident, she and her husband will also serve as one of the host families for Aloha Initiative.
“Opening our home to someone from Japan is our way of sharing Hawaii’s aloha and helping them to heal, so that they can return home and renew their lives,” said McKee.
Hawaiian’s fundraising efforts in support of Japan’s recovery have exceeded more than $250,000 to date. The company, with help from Chef Chai Chaowasaree, organized the “Lei Day for Japan” music and cuisine benefit on May 1. In addition, Hawaiian held an internal fundraising drive with the company matching employee contributions, has donated transportation to specialized disaster response teams flying from the mainland to Japan in support of relief and recovery efforts, and has sponsored other Hawaii fundraising events, including the “Kokua for Japan” live radio and telethon fundraiser, and the “Aloha for Japan” campaign.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past seven years (2004-2010) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, consumer surveys byCondé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the top domestic airline offering flights to Hawaii. Hawaiian was also the nation’s highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in the prestigious Airline Quality Rating (AQR)
study for 2008 and 2009.
Now in its 82nd year of continuous service in Hawaii, Hawaiian is 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 South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 150 daily jet flights between the
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