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Hawaiian tops U.S. carriers in punctuality

Hawaiian Airlines led U.S. carriers in punctuality in February and also had the fewest flight cancellations.

However, the state’s largest carrier had the third-worst consumer complaint ratio of 16 domestic airlines, according to data released Thursday in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report.

Hawaiian had 91.8 percent of its domestic flights arrive on time to beat the industry average of 79.6 percent. Hawaiian had only seven cancellations out of 5,430 flights in February for a cancellation rate of 0.1 percent.

But Hawaiian had 16 consumer complaints during February, or 2.13 per 100,000 passengers and higher than the industry average of 1.14. Only Virgin America (3.19) and Frontier Airlines (6.01) had higher complaint ratios.

Hawaiian also was fifth in fewest mishandled-baggage reports with 2.13 per 1,000 passengers, or 1,494 total reports out of 702,095 passengers.

REC Solar begins home installations

California-based REC Solar has begun offering installations of residential solar photovoltaic systems on Oahu.

The company until now had focused on commercial and utility-scale PV installations in Hawaii.

REC Solar recently expanded its facility in Kapolei and is hiring a local team to manage residential business operations and system installation on Oahu, the company said in a news release.

"This Oahu expansion provides a strategic base for REC Solar to meet increased demand from homeowners as well as corporate, agricultural, government and utility customers," according to the news release.

The company has completed about 7 megawatts of commercial and government PV projects in Hawaii, and is slated to begin construction soon on one of the largest solar projects approved in the state, the 14.5-megawatt Ana­hola project for Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

Hawaii Biotech receives rights to vaccines

Honolulu-based Hawaii Biotech has acquired, from pharmaceutical giant Merck, ownership of a family of patents to West Nile virus vaccine technology, as well as a nonexclusive license to related technologies.

Terms were not disclosed.

"We appreciate the cooperation we have received from Merck, and we look forward to continuing the clinical development of this vaccine candidate," said Elliot Parks, Hawaii Biotech CEO.

Hawaii Biotech is developing a Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever vaccine through a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Other vaccines also under development include a malaria vaccine in collaboration with academic researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a tick-borne flavivirus vaccine.

Pratt & Whitney will power Airbus fleet

Hawaiian Airlines has chosen the Pratt & Whitney PurePower 1133G-JM engine to power its new fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft that will be used for long-haul flying between Hawaii and the West Coast.

Pratt & Whitney also will provide off-wing engine maintenance through its PureSolution Fleet Management Program.

Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engine delivers double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency and environmental emissions as well as a 50 percent reduction in noise.

Record efforts help HPR raise $959,649

Hawaii Public Radio finished its on-air, eight-day spring fundraising effort with $959,649 in pledged donations. The amount raised was $2,649 over the stated goal of $957,000.

The first and last days of the campaign broke records for single-day contributions, according to a statement.

On April 3, $118,188 was raised, and $172,009 came in on Wednesday from 393 donors, the most ever to pledge in a single day.

"It’s hard to translate our emotions into words at this point," said HPR President and General Manager Michael Titterton.

"Our goal was higher than ever, and our expenses have been large because we have been expanding our reach on neighbor islands to the point where we now have nine transmitters and are close to our mission of providing two superb program streams to the entire state," he added.

"It’s simply heart-boggling to receive this support from all over the state at this important point in our history."

Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.43 percent

WASHINGTON >> Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell sharply this week and moved closer to historic lows, keeping home-buying and refinancing attractive.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year fixed loan fell to 3.43 percent from 3.54 percent last week. That’s near the 3.31 percent reached in November, which was the lowest on records dating to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 2.65 percent from 2.74 percent last week. That’s slightly above the record low of 2.63 percent, also reached in November.

Low mortgage rates are helping sustain a housing recovery that began last year. Home sales and residential construction are up, prices are rising and more Americans are refinancing. That’s helped the broader economy. 


Hawaii National Bank has promoted:

>> Donn Mende to vice president and manager at its Pua­inako Branch in Hilo.

>> Brian Kim to assistant manager at its Kapiolani Branch. He was previously the bank’s loan assistant and loan officer.

>> Clarence Rega­lado to assistant manager at the main branch from loan officer.

>> Bobby Kwan to loan officer at its Kapiolani Branch. He was previously a loan assistant.

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