HONOLULU, HI — The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), along with representatives from Hawaii County and George Applegate from the Big Island Visitors Bureau, are flying to Japan today to meet with Japan Airlines (JAL) executives regarding the continuation of the Narita (NRT)–Kona (KOA) daily, direct flight. As a part of JAL’s ongoing reorganization after filing for Chapter 15 bankruptcy back in January, the airline is reviewing the performance of its routes including service from Narita to Kona.
“The Narita–Kona flight is important to the tourism economy of Hawaii Island and our state,” said HTA president and CEO Mike McCartney. “We are extremely concerned about the Kona flight from Narita, Japan, and are actively working with JAL to see how the state, city, and the visitor industry can assist to ensure that the route continues to be beneficial to all parties.”
Since 1996, JAL has provided a daily, direct flight from Narita to Kona International Airport, the second international point of entry into the state of Hawaii.
“We appreciate the collaborative efforts of the visitor industry and the state working with the County of Hawaii to encourage Japan Airlines to continue the Narita–Kona flight,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “JAL is contributing to the economic well-being of our entire island community, from our hotel workers and tour drivers to our small shops and restaurants, and we will all be working cooperatively to find ways to encourage JAL to continue direct flights to Kona.”
“JAL continues to be an outstanding partner and has made important contributions to Hawaii tourism for more than 55 years when the carrier began service to Hawaii,” said McCartney. “We understand the difficult financial situation that the company is experiencing, but hope that we can come to a solution to preserve this important route.”