As reported on the Maui Now website, Ohana by Hawaiian celebrated its inaugural flight from Kahului to Kapalua on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. We reprint the article in its entirety, without editing, for your review:
“Today was a significant day for Hawaiian Airlines as it welcomed its first flight into Kapalua Airport in over two decades.
The airport, designator code JHM, was built and named after former Hawaiian Airlines owner and CEO, John H. Magoon back on March 1, 1987.
On the airport’s 30th anniversary, a large group of government officials, Hawaiian Airlines employees and family members of the former longtime CEO flew in on the inaugural ‘Ohana by Hawaiian flight from Kahului to Kapalua to celebrate the special homecoming.
Mr. Magoon, who bought Hawaiian Airlines in 1963, led many other notable company achievements during his tenure, including the introduction of jet service among the islands in 1966 with the arrival of the DC-9 aircraft and its first scheduled service between the islands and the U.S. West Coast in 1985.
In tribute to his success, a 9-foot tall by 12-foot wide memorial wall at JHM was revealed this morning by the airline, the Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation and the Transportation Security Administration. Members of Mr. Magoon’s family attended the dedication ceremony, including his wife Jeanette, his daughter Sara and son-in-law Peter Dudgeon, who served as Hawaiian’s president from 1980 to 1983.
“It’s really a back to the future for us that Hawaiian Airlines started flying through this airport exactly 30 years ago today,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines Chief Commercial Officer. “We bring the service back today and it’s a more convenient access for the people that live here in West Maui or for people that are staying at the resorts in the Kā‘anapali area. We’re glad to be back and we think that the two services really compliment each other,” he added. “We’re not changing anything about our service from Kahului, it’s still very important, that’s still gong to be the main airport in the region, but this is an airport that’s better for some of our guests and we want to be able to serve it.”
The airline operated flights out of Kapalua between March 1987 and April 1993 before selling the airstrip and terminal to the state.
Ford Fuchigami, Director of HDOT, thinks the new service will be more convenient for tourists staying in West Maui to travel directly to their hotels. “I think it’s very important, it’s not only important to the residents of West Maui but also very important to the hospitality industry on this side,” he said. “Right now the only airport we have available is Kahului and of course you have that long drive out here, which again is a very scenic drive, but there are some people that prefer to just fly directly in here and get to their hotels so I think that’s going to be very important.”
Hawaiian Airlines had announced in November that it planned on resuming services from Kapalua Airport by Jan. 18, 2017, however, ticket sales were stopped when officials realized the proper TSA presence at the West Maui facility would not be ready in time. It is required that airports with planes carrying more than 19 seats have a TSA checkpoint.
Ingram noted that ticket sales have been slow to sell out of JHM but believes the demand will grow soon.
“It’s been a little slow for us, but really that’s only because we started and then stopped sales for a little bit while we had to work out the final operational kinks,” he said. “We really are expecting things to pick up now, in fact we put some sale fares on yesterday to stimulate demand and make sure there is enough awareness about it,” he added. “I think as we get the word out about our return of our service out of Kapalua we expect the demand to really grow.”
The airline now operates two roundtrip flights daily from JHM to Honolulu International Airport and one flight between JHM and Kahului Airport. ‘Ohana by Hawaiian will operate the new service with 48-seat ATR-42 turboprop aircrafts.
Flight No. Route Depart Arrive
HA 661 OGG-JHM 09:55 a.m. 10:17 a.m.
HA 651 JHM-HNL 10:45 a.m. 11:26 a.m.
HA 652 HNL-JHM 12:06 p.m. 12:47 p.m.
HA 653 JHM-HNL 1:13 p.m. 1:54 p.m.
HA 654 HNL-JHM 2:30 p.m. 3:11p.m.
HA 662 JHM-OGG 3:40 p.m. 4:02 p.m.
For residents that haven’t traveled to West Maui due to the long drive, this alternative approach could bring more people to the Lahaina area.
“So here we are back in West Maui,” said Hawaiian Archivist Rick Rogers. “It’s like I haven’t travelled to West Maui as much as I’d like to but now we have the opportunity to come back and come directly to an airport that Hawaiian Airlines built, so it’s really refreshing to have the opportunity to come back again,” he said.
“The new routes to Kapalua serviced by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian will bring increased air travel choices to the Valley Isle,” Fuchigami said. “The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation is pleased to welcome Hawaiian Airlines back to Kapalua Airport. HDOT is confident that this will benefit residents and visitors alike through increased transportation accessibility.”
The first Hawaiian Airlines flight to depart from JHM in 23 years was at 12:30 p.m. today to Honolulu International Airport.”
Syed Sarmad, Principal Broker for Advantage Vacation