When Peter Ingram assumed the role of Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO earlier this year, he committed to visiting employees at all of our stations by the end of 2018. These Talk Story events are opportunities for our teams to get to know Peter and other senior leadership, and to hear their vision of the future. More importantly, they are a way to thank and celebrate members of our amazing Hawaiian Airlines ‘ohana.
One of Peter’s early stops on the tour was American Sāmoa, which figures large in our company history. We started our service to Pago Pago on October 24, 1984. In the thirty-four years since, we’ve been a lifeline for this community, flying tourists, residents, medical travelers and even disaster relief supplies to and from the Islands. Large crowds regularly gather to greet our arriving flights, and at forty-strong the Pago Pago station is one of our largest employee bases outside of Hawai‘i. But our involvement in the Islands doesn’t end at the airport. Through the years, we have supported, sponsored and advocated for a range of cultural, community and commercial efforts. Peter’s visit included media interviews, meetings with government officials and a blessing for construction of a renovated cargo facility, all playing an important part in reconfirming our commitment to the community.
Our Pago Pago ‘ohana welcomed Peter and the Talk Story team with music, song, dance and a meticulously rehearsed, traditional ava (kava) ceremony – a solemn ritual in Sāmoan society, in which the beverage is shared to mark important occasions. As is always the case in American Sāmoa, the spirit of talofa (aloha) was fully on display.
The field is set for the 2018 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, which takes place between December 22 and 25 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines has been the title sponsor for the annual basketball tournament since its inception ten years ago. This year’s team line-up includes Charlotte, Colorado, Indiana State, Rhode Island, Saint Mary’s, Texas Christian University, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa. The tournament features twelve games over the course of three days, with each team competing once per day leading up to the championship game on Christmas day.
In addition to serving as the official airline partner for the university’s twenty-one sports teams, Hawaiian is a Diamond Level partner of UH Athletics. For more information on the upcoming basketball tournament, see HawaiianAirlinesDiamondHeadClassic.com.
From the Archives
The arrival of Hawaiian Airlines’ DC-3s in 1941 presented a distinct set of challenges when it came to servicing Kaua‘i. Initially, the runway at Port Allen was found to be too short: The only strip of pavement long enough to handle large aircraft was at the Mana Airfield Military Reservation, also known as Barking Sands. During World War II, the runway at Port Allen was covered with junked cars to prevent enemy landings, leaving Barking Sands as the only airport on the island.
Throughout the war Hawaiian Airlines passengers checked in and parked at Port Allen, then took a bus to Barking Sands at the far western edge of the island. The passenger terminal was at the south end of the field, with squadrons of Army Air Corps B-24s, Marine F4U Corsairs and a battalion of anti-aircraft gunners to the windward side. At war’s end the military downsized, leaving Hawaiian Airlines as the sole tenant until the new airport at Līhu‘e was dedicated in 1950.
— Captain Rick Rogers
Our Cargo team recently recognized seven of its own who had each served for more than forty years with Hawaiian Airlines. Pictured above, from left to right are: Melvin Kajikawa (fifty years), Dutchie Bright (forty-nine years), Freddy Uehara (fifty years), Scot Matsuoka (forty-eight years), Paula Jones (forty-four years) and Vernon Parker (forty-four years). Not pictured is Jimmy Uyeunten (fifty-one years).
To commemorate their contributions to the success of our company, their names have been placed on each of the seven roll up doors at our cargo facility. According to Honolulu Cargo Operations Manager Keoni Kauhane, the hope is that, “Thirty to fifty years from now, their stories will still be told and, if we are fortunate to have their children or grandchildren work here, they will be able to say ‘That’s my family!’ Their legacy will be engraved in this facility forever.”