Last February, Hawaiian Airlines established a new ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language) certification program for employees. The program, which is available at no cost to any of the airline’s 7,200-plus employees, is a continuation of the carrier’s longstanding commitment to honoring its Island home. The certification program was developed in consultation with numerous Hawaiian language scholars and practitioners, and requires employees to demonstrate advanced writing and speaking proficiency. Once certified, employees are recognized with the Hae Hawai‘i (Hawai‘i’s state flag) imprinted on their nametag, placing ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i speakers alongside colleagues at the company who are fluent in a variety of languages, including French, Japanese, Korean and Samoan.
The ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i program was spearheaded by team members within Hawaiian’s In-Flight Services department, which currently has thirteen certified speakers. As more speakers are certified, they will help advance the language’s use throughout the airline’s operations. “This is an incredible moment for our ‘ohana and an opportunity for employees to share Hawai‘i’s mother tongue far and wide,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community relations at Hawaiian Airlines.
In 2018 Hawaiian Airlines operated seven flights where crewmembers incorporated ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i into their standard boarding and in-flight announcements. In the process, the airline earned the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Legacy Award, which honors local organizations that are revitalizing the language. Upon accepting the award, Nakanelua-Richards said, “We believe it is through our language that aloha becomes more than a greeting; it becomes a story about our present, our past and our future.”
Earlier this year, Hawaiian bade a fond aloha to the last of its Boeing 767-300ERs. Over the course of eighteen years, in 2001, the 767 was key to the launching of sixteen new, non-stop routes throughout the Pacific region, including service from Honolulu to Sydney and Brisbane in Australia; Osaka, Tokyo and Sapporo in Japan and Seoul, South Korea.
“The Boeing 767 was instrumental to our transpacific growth, international expansion and success in introducing millions of guests to this special place we call home,” Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, remarked following a post-flight blessing of ‘Ulili in Honolulu. “Today marks another chapter in our ongoing fleet modernization program, as we continue to take more deliveries of Airbus A321neos and prepare to welcome the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2021.”
From the Archives
A grass strip at Hāmoa was just long enough for Hawaiian Airlines’ predecessor, Inter-Island Airways, to land its Sikorsky S-38’s in Hāna, Maui, from 1935 until the start of World War II, when the flights ceased. It would not be until November 11, 1950, that Hāna again received air-service. On that date Hawaiian Airlines DC-3s were on the newly paved tarmac at Hāna Airport, along with hundreds of spectators who gathered for a blessing and speeches by the Civil Aviation Authority, Territory of Hawai‘i officials, representatives of Hāna Ranch Company and Inter-Island’s founder, Stanley C. Kennedy.
The runway was eventually lengthened in 1956 to safely accommodate the Convair 330s, which had been replacing the DC-3s. The Convairs, in turn, were replaced by the DC-9, which was found to be larger than necessary for Hāna. And so, in March 1973, Hawaiian ultimately suspended service to Hāna.
— Captain Rick Rogers
Committed to Excellence
Senior Network Engineer Michael Huo’s commitment to his projects, partners and colleagues earned him the distinction of being named Hawaiian Airlines’ 2018 Employee of the Year. Huo’s nominators in the company-wide program pointed to his flexibility, selflessness, composure and ability to come up with innovative solutions to time-sensitive problems.
“I am honored to add my name to the list of those who recognize Michael’s dedication and service to Hawaiian Airlines and the guests that we serve,” noted President and CEO Peter Ingram. Huo was chosen from among last year’s monthly Kūpono Award recipients to receive our company’s highest honor, which was announced in January at an employee recognition banquet in Waikīkī.