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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Hawaiian Airlines plans Phoenix route

By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaiian Airlines is launching daily air service between Honolulu and Phoenix — its third new route announced in two months — as part of a major expansion of the company's Mainland service.

The Phoenix service will start Oct. 11 and will use Hawaiian's new Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The new jet seats 252 passengers with 18 first class and 234 coach seats.

Last month, Hawaiian said it would add two California routes to its service beginning in June — daily nonstop service between Honolulu and Sacramento, and Honolulu and Ontario.

The expansion gives Hawaiian 13 daily nonstop flights between the West Coast and Hawai'i, including recently announced plans to start new nonstop service to Maui from San Francisco and Los Angeles in June, and daily nonstop service that began earlier this month between Maui and Seattle.

"Phoenix has been high on our list of potential new markets for a long time. It's now the nation's sixth largest city ... that offers great potential for attracting new visitors to Hawai'i," Paul Casey, Hawaiian's president and chief executive officer, said yesterday in a statement.

The move marks a continuation of the aggressive route-expansion by both Hawaiian and Aloha airlines that began last month in the wake of their failed merger as both airlines struggle to regroup, compete and survive during the industry's troubled times, including continuing weakness in Hawai'i's interisland market.

Aloha Airlines last week said it plans to boost its Mainland routes with daily service from Honolulu to Burbank, Calif., on June 1, and Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 15. Before the new flights begin in June, Aloha said it plans to recall the remaining 31 flight attendants, six pilots and ground crews still furloughed from the airline's cutbacks in October.

Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner said he could not discuss yesterday whether the new routes would result in a recall of furloughed workers. Like Aloha, Hawaiian furloughed hundreds of workers in October after it cut schedules by about 20 percent after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Reach Frank Cho at fcho@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8088.