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Hawaiian Airlines launching service to Auckland, New Zealand

    courtesy hawaiian airlines A Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300, similar to this one, was involved in an incident Wednesday night at Kansai International Airport in Japan. The plane, with 208 passengers and crew, entered a runway just minutes before a cargo jet was about to land.

Hawaiian Airlines, the one-time regional carrier that is making an aggressive push into the international market, is heading to a new country.

The state’s oldest airline said today it will offer nonstop flights between Honolulu and Auckland, New Zealand, three times a week beginning March 13. This will mark Hawaiian’s eighth new destination since expanding service in November 2010 to Tokyo.

It also comes less than a month after Hawaiian announced it would begin three-days-a-week service to Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 27.

New Zealand has been a small yet growing market for the state with 20,730 arrivals in 2011, up 15.4 percent from 2010, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Through May of this year, arrivals from New Zealand were up 5.1 percent from the same period a year ago.

Spending from New Zealand visitors in Hawaii hit $38 million in 2011

“New Zealanders are avid travelers and we believe the introduction of new nonstop flights with our winning brand of service will be welcomed in meeting pent-up demand for a Hawaii vacation,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “At the same time, our new service will offer Hawaii residents easy access to the natural wonders and Maori culture of New Zealand.”

Air New Zealand, which flies between Auckland and Honolulu three times a week, is the only other carrier that flies nonstop between the two cities.

Hawaiian initially will service the New Zealand route with a 264-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

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