(BIVN) – Seven years after bidding farewell to Hawai‘i tourism officials and suspending its direct route to Kona Airport, Japan Airlines is making good on its vow to return.
On May 31, state and Japan Airlines executives held a press conference, live streamed on Facebook, to announce JAL is coming back to Kona. JAL is starting a new daily, non-stop service between Narita International Airport in Tokyo and the Kona International Airport starting September 15, 2017.
“Japan Airlines has offered continuous service to the State of Hawai‘i for more than 60 years now,” said Governor David Ige. “Over the years, JAL has played a significant role in the expansion of our state’s tourism industry, economy and the cultural exchange we enjoy with Japan. We are excited about the new daily service to Kona, which is well on its way to becoming Hawai‘i’s second major international port of entry,” said Gov. Ige.
JAL’s new service is expected to result in 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 and will be fitted with the airline’s most current interiors, the state says. The aircraft seats 199 passengers.
“For over 60 years, JAL has been serving and promoting travel to the beautiful state of Hawai‘i and this latest route gives our customers based in Japan and in other Asia gateways a second destination in addition to our six daily flights from Narita, Nagoya and Osaka to Honolulu,” said Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines, in a media release.
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 4:00 p.m. the next day. Schedules are subject to government approval.
The new daily flights are set to begin on Sept. 15, 2017. The new service is an addition to JAL’s six current non-stop flights between Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Honolulu.