Hawaiian Airlines, Billabong Sponsoring Two-Year South Pacific Surfing Safari
HONOLULU – Mar. 20, 2006 - The ultimate surfing seaplane – the Billabong Hawaiian Clipper – is coming to the Neighbor Islands for a round of special tours before embarking on a two-year surfing safari in the South Pacific.
Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines and Billabong, the public is invited to see this remarkable aircraft up-close and meet its crew at the following locations:
Kona International Airport
Day/Time: Wednesday, March 22, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Location: Ulu Street – access via Gate 2A
Hilo International Airport
Day/Time: Thursday, March 23, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
Location: Old Tower Area (Bridge Road)
Day/Time: Friday, March 24, 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Location: Eena Road – next to fire rescue station
Day/Time: Saturday, March 25, 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
Location: Commuter Terminal, Ahukini Road
Starting next month and continuing through the end of 2007, the Billabong Hawaiian Clipper will visit legendary surf spots, appear at all major surf competitions, and transport surfers, journalists and photographers to hard-to-reach islands and reefs in the South Pacific to experience new surf breaks.
The state-of-the-art seaplane is a propeller-driven, World War II-era Grumman Albatross seaplane that has been refitted as the “ultimate surfing exploration craft.” Outfitted with a retro 1940s Hawaiian Airlines logo, the aircraft is 62-feet long, has a wingspan of 96 feet, can fly more than 3,000 miles before refueling, and has a maximum speed of 250 miles per hour.
The Billabong Hawaiian Clipper can land on runways or the ocean, making it ideal to explore waves found in remote island settings, especially those accessible only by sea.
For Hawaiian, the two-year surf odyssey is a celebration of both Hawaii's surfing legacy and the golden age of “flying boat” aviation that Hawaiian pioneered for the islands in 1929.
Hawaiian is an avid supporter of surfing and has sponsored numerous surf competitions and events through the years. Most recently, Hawaiian served as presenting sponsor for the Billabong Pro Maui at Honolua Bay in December 2005, the year's final Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) women's event. Last August, Hawaiian was title sponsor of the Duke's Legends Surf Classic at Waikiki Beach to help raise funds for college scholarships and community sports grants presented by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.
Hawaiian introduced interisland service to Hawaii on November 11, 1929, using two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian propeller planes. Hawaii's first commercial aircraft could carry eight passengers and two crewmembers, and had a top cruising speed of 110 miles per hour.
The inaugural flight from Honolulu to Hilo with a stopover on Maui took more than three hours. The following day, Hawaii's first airline made its initial flight to Kauai and within a week seaplane flights were underway to all islands.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian was the nation's number one carrier for on-time service, fewest flight cancellations and best baggage service reliability in 2005, according to reports by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Consumer travel surveys conducted by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Zagat all rank Hawaiian as the top domestic airline serving Hawaii.
Now in its 77th year of continuous service in Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline, and the second largest provider of passenger air service between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities than any other airline (nine), as well as service to Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 100 daily jet flights among the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (AMEX and PCX: HA). Additional information is available at HawaiianAirlines.com.