Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
On Saturday, Hilo celebrated the arrival of the new, direct flight to and from San Fransisco, courtesy the newly merged United and Continental Airlines.
Passengers were greeted with Hawaiian music, gift bags, and aloha in the lobby of the Hilo International Airport.
As this video shows, the new connection was more than a chance for tourists to get acquainted with Hilo… it was a chance to re-unite friends and family.
The new weekly flight will transport travellers between San Fransisco and Hilo on Saturdays.
In combination with the new daily arrivals direct from Los Angeles, the Hawaii Tourism Authority estimates the new flights could bring 40,000 additional visitors to Hawaii Island and may generate about $50.6 million in visitor spending annually.