Connecting Flight

Corporate Kōkua

By Peter Ingram, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiian Airlines

Being Hawai‘i’s airline shapes everything we do as a company. Every route we fly either starts or ends—or both starts and ends—in Hawai‘i. The care with which we treat our guests reflects the culture and traditions of our Islands; we serve as a lifeline for our state, and our planes—especially our fleet of twenty Boeing 717s and seven ‘Ohana by Hawaiian aircraft—carry nearly everyone and everything around the Islands.

Yet many of our friends, neighbors and guests might not be aware of the more subtle actions we take to support and sustain these Islands. Volunteer efforts, monetary contributions, flights, mileage awards and reduced fare programs for nonprofits are some of the ways we support community partners and recognize the important work they do.

Perhaps you’ve seen our Team Kōkua out and about in their purple t-shirts. Our employee volunteer program is there to help throughout the Islands and in the cities to which we fly worldwide, sharing aloha just about every week of the year. They could be sifting microplastic particles out of the sand at Waimānalo beach, pitching in at the Hawaii Foodbank or working at the Diamond Head Classic basketball tournament. Last year 2,673 volunteers with ties to Hawaiian Airlines spent more than 8,700 hours—the vast majority of those hours outside of work—on community, environmental, educational or cultural projects they care about.

Less visible than our army of volunteers is the work we do with our partner organizations, which are as diverse as Hawai‘i itself. They range from Aloha United Way to the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program in coordination with the San Diego Zoo. All Team Kōkua requests must be sponsored by a Hawaiian Airlines employee and fall into one of four areas: culture, education, environment, and health and human services. In 2018, we supported 284 different nonprofit organizations.

Another way we are involved in the community is through the HawaiianMiles program. In 2018, the company—through its employees and established charities—donated more than twenty million miles. These have been used in many ways, such as visits to doctors and fundraisers for organizations. And, as Hawai‘i’s airline, we are ready to provide help when it is needed most. Last year, for example, we offered complimentary flights to dozens of first responders traveling to Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island during floods and volcanic eruptions. Special fares are also often available for high school athletics—an important social fabric that binds us together.

And, of course, no charitable engagement would be complete without providing financial support to organizations. Our foundation provides grants up to $100,000 annually. Last November, to celebrate the start of our ninetieth year, our employees pledged an additional $97,000 in 2019 payroll deductions, which were bolstered by a $90,000 match from the company. The first installment was recently delivered to four local organizations: the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Aloha United Way, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Bishop Museum.

I am always proud to call Hawai‘i my home, and I am even more proud of everything Hawai‘i’s airline does to improve people’s lives. I often say that our team is the best in the business, not only in the care they take of our guests but also in the care they take of our community. If you are interested in learning more about Team Kōkua, please visit the community relations section of HawaiianAirlines.com.

To our generous employees, their families and our retirees, I say mahalo! To our guests flying with us, aloha and welcome aboard!