POSTED: 7:19 a.m. HST, Feb 14, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 1:36 p.m. HST, Feb 14, 2013
Hawaiian Airlines is branching out in Japan again.
The state's largest carrier said today it plans to offer three-days-a-week service between Sendai and Honolulu beginning June 25.
It will be the first scheduled service between the two cities since 2004 when JALways, a subsidiary of Japan Airlines, left the market. It also will be among the first new services to be introduced at Sendai Airport since it was closed for more than a month in 2011 due to damage caused by the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Last year, Hawaiian offered four charter flights between the two cities.
The Sendai service aboard a 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER will operate nonstop from Honolulu to Sendai, with one-stop service returning to Honolulu via Sapporo, which Hawaiian began service to in October.
"We have been interested in providing service to Honolulu from Sendai for some time," Hawaiian President and CEO Mark Dunkerley said. "The city's airport draws travelers from throughout the Tohoku region, and its peak travel periods complement those of Sapporo to the north. Our new service will take advantage of these fluctuations by offering each market the majority of available seats when local demand for travel to Hawaii is highest. This allows us to make the most efficient use of our fleet."
Sendai is the largest city in the Tohoku region of northern Honshu, which has a population of more than 9 million people.
Rapidly expanding Hawaiian has now launched or announced 10 new destinations in less than three years. Other Japan cities it currently serves are Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo.
The Sendai route, which is awaiting Japan government approval, is also Hawaiian's third new route planned this year. Hawaiian will inaugurate service to Auckland, New Zealand, next month and Taipei, Taiwan, in July.