LIHUE >> Hawaiian Airlines has started a new nonstop flight service from the Big Island to Kauai.
The inaugural flight between Kailua-Kona and Lihue took off Sunday. It’s the first time Hawaiian Airlines passengers have had a direct route option between the two cities.
“I bought a ticket just to be on the first flight,” said Kealoha Curnan-Medina, who lives on the Big Island but is from Kauai. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen. I hope it stays forever.”
The daily flight is the airline’s longest inter-island route at 263 miles.
Hawaiian Airlines Executive Vice President Peter Ingram said the new nonstop service will meet growing demand for travel between the two islands by those who usually connect through Maui or Honolulu.
The hourlong flight between the Big Island and Kauai cuts travel time, Curnan-Medina said. Before, she had to stop for a layover on Oahu.
The airline was able to add the flight after bringing on two new planes to its interisland fleet, Ingram said.
“We are always looking for ways to make traveling throughout the Hawaiian Islands more convenient,” he said. “From an airline perspective, we are delighted to continue to enhance our network of Neighbor Island flights to provide even more options to travelers.”
There are two daily flights between Lihue Airport and Kona International Airport. One leaves Kona in the morning and the other takes off from Lihue in the afternoon.
Ingram said Hawaiian Airlines will continue to monitor the flights and make any schedule adjustments as needed.