Frequent and careful Hana Hou! readers might have noticed a few changes over the past year—among these were the disappearance of the column “Connecting Flight” by the chief executive officer and the appearance of a dotted line on our route map stretching from Honolulu to Boston.
I’m pleased to return “Connecting Flight” with this issue of Hana Hou! Since becoming Hawaiian Airlines’ president and CEO last spring, one of my highest priorities has been to travel our network to meet many of my 7,200-plus colleagues who together deliver the best hospitality in our industry and make us the finest premium leisure airline in the world. My visits reinforced the already strong belief that I have held since joining the airline in 2005: Our ‘ohana is the backbone of our success as Hawai‘i’s airline. I am honored to lead a team that serves our Islands in so many ways.
In the last year, one of the more exciting decisions we’ve made was where to introduce our service next. The answer, of course, is Boston. The dotted line on our route map has been replaced by a solid purple line because Boston has gone from being an announced destination to one Hawaiian flies; five-times-weekly service started in April. That same month also saw our route map grow with new nonstop service between Maui and Sacramento, complementing existing Honolulu to Sacramento service.
One reason Boston makes sense for our network is that there is already a lot of travel between eastern New England and the Hawaiian Islands. In fact, there was already more traffic between Boston and Honolulu than any other market without nonstop service to Hawai‘i. Boston is also a destination for many kama‘āina. Our keiki attend hundreds of colleges and universities in New England—there are more than 100 colleges in Massachusetts alone. And numerous researchers in the University of Hawai‘i system collaborate with colleagues at institutions in and around Boston.
On April 4, our inaugural flight, HA90, so numbered to reflect our ninety years of service, took off from Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and flew 5,095 miles to Boston’s Logan International Airport. In so doing, HA90 became the nation’s longest domestic flight. We know this because it surpassed the previous record holder: Our flight of 4,983 miles between Honolulu and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
All of us who live in Hawai‘i or who are frequent visitors know that, despite the distance between Massachusetts and Hawai‘i, there are connections between the regions that stretch back centuries. The ship Thaddeus set sail from Boston for the Islands on October 23, 1819, carrying three Hawaiians and seven New England missionaries with their wives and children. That trip took 164 days, while HA89 from Boston to Honolulu is scheduled to take about eleven hours.
If you’re a sports fan like I am you might know that there are Hawaiian ties to the astonishing, prolonged winning streak that Boston teams have been on since the turn of the twenty-first century. Maui native Shane Victorino, sometimes referred to as “The Flyin’ Hawaiian,” played a pivotal role in the Red Sox’ 2013 World Series championship season. And Michael Ho‘omanawanui, whose father was born and raised on O‘ahu, played tight end for the New England Patriots when they won the Super Bowl in 2014. The relationship between Hawai‘i and the Boston area is long, complex and unique. I look forward to our new service deepening the connections.
For all our guests boarding our flights to or from Boston, Sacramento and throughout our network, I want to say, “Welcome aboard!”