VIDEO UPDATE: Japan Airlines Relaunches Service on Hawai‘i Island
Japan Airlines launched its daily, non-stop service from Narita International Airport in Tokyo to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (Kona International Airport at Keāhole) on Hawai‘i Island on Friday, Sept. 15.
The airline returns to Kona after a seven-year absence. The service suspension in October 2010 was part of JAL’s corporate reorganization to downsize business by 30%.
This latest addition is expected to bring about $84.2 million in visitor expenditures and about $9.8 million in state tax revenue, according to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. The service will also support about 900 jobs on Hawai‘i island.
The Narita-Kona flights will operate with fully revamped JAL SKY SUITE 767 (767-300ER) aircraft that seats 199 passengers.
The flights will depart Narita at 9:25 p.m. and arrive in Kona at 10:15 a.m. Service from Kona will depart at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Narita at 4 p.m. the next day.
Gov. David Ige and the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation welcomed Japan Airlines’ inaugural flight from Narita International Airport to the Kona International Airport at Keāhole on Hawai‘i Island. The new daily, non-stop service marks JAL’s return to Kona.
“The return of JAL to Kona is significant because it represents a rebirth of a vital route between the Hawaiian islands and Japan,” said Gov. Ige today at Kona International Airport. “It reinforces the development of Kona as Hawai‘i’s second international airport and U.S. port of entry. It also will maintain the momentum for continued marketing growth of Hawaii’s tourism economy by diversifying this growth to the Neighbor Islands.”
“We warmly welcome Japan Airlines back to Kona,” said Gov. Ige. “We are extremely excited about the daily service to Kona, which is on its way to becoming Hawai‘i’s second major international port of entry.”
“JAL has offered excellent service to the Aloha State for more than 60 years, and has played a significant role in expanding and supporting our tourism industry and economy,” said Gov. Ige. “We are also thankful for the opportunity for cultural exchange with Japan.”
“Our thanks go to Japan Airlines and Chairman Masaru Onishi for being such a great and loyal friend to Hawaii’s tourism industry,” said George Szigeti, president and chief executive officer Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “This new non-stop flight connecting Tokyo and Kona reinforces Japan Airlines’ commitment to support travel to the Hawaiian Islands, while offering its customers an enticing new vacation experience to discover the allure and natural beauty found on the island of Hawai‘i.”
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono also applauded the reestablishment of Japan Airlines’ direct service from Tokyo to Kona.
“I welcome the return of Japan Airlines to Kona,” said Sen. Hirono. “Hawai‘i’s deep ties with Japan and today’s flight helps to grow our state’s visitor industry and economy. Reopening of the FIS facility at Kona International Airport provides another opportunity to expand the Island of Hawaii’s international visitor market.”
The new service is an addition to JAL’s six non-stop flights between Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and the newly named Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu.
According to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, nearly 1.5 million Japanese citizens visited Hawai‘i in 2016 —spending over $1 billion in the state’s economy and supporting over 26,000 jobs.