Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport to Honolulu was delayed more than eight hours by mechanical problems with the Boeing 767-300ER.
Flight No. 460, with Hawaiian President and CEO Mark Dunkerley among its approximate 240 passengers, is now scheduled to arrive at 7:30 p.m. Hawaii time. It was originally scheduled to arrive at 11 this morning.
The flight was scheduled to leave at 10:15 p.m. Friday Seoul time, but did not take off until 6:18 a.m. Saturday Seoul time.
This was the return flight of Hawaiian’s inaugural flight from Honolulu to South Korea, which left on Wednesday.
The departure Wednesday of the first flight to Seoul from the Honolulu was acconpanied with Hawaiian music, hula, a blessing and a Korean cultural dance. About 100 passengers, comprising mostly business leaders and professionals, boarded the afternoon flight. About 240 passengers had been expected on the seven-hour, 45-minute return leg on the 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER.
The airline’s four-times-a-week service to Incheon International Airport, just outside Seoul, is expected to help boost Hawaii tourism following the United States’ inclusion in November 2008 in a visa waiver program that allows Koreans to travel to the U.S. without a visa.
Through the first 11 months of this year, 79,131 Koreans visited Hawaii, up 75.3 percent from 45,148 during the same period a year earlier, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. For all of 2010, the HTA is projecting 92,180 visitors, a 79.5 percent increase over 51,353 in 2009.
This year the HTA is projecting 115,225 Korean visitor arrivals, up 25 percent from the 2010 projection.
Hawaiian’s foray into South Korea is its third into Asia and follows service to Manila in 2008 and to Japan’s Haneda International Airport last November.
The scheduled flights to South Korea depart Honolulu on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:20 p.m. Seoul time and arrive at 8:05 p.m. the following day Seoul time. The return flights depart Incheon on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 10:15 p.m. and are scheduled to arrive in Honolulu at 11 a.m. the same day.
Hawaiian is initially using its 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft for the flights but said it eventually will transition to its new Airbus A330-200 aircraft.