Hawaiian Airlines says its plan for expansion into Asia has taken a major step forward with final approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation...

Hawaiian Airlines says its plan for expansion into Asia has taken a major step forward with final approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the carrier’s application to operate nonstop daily service between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Honolulu International Airport.

The Honolulu-based carrier’s first-ever commercial service to Japan is scheduled to begin on October 31. Hawaiian Airlines says the new service will add approximately 100,000 new airline seats annually to Hawaii from its second-largest tourism market. The airline plans to announce its start date for ticket sales for the new route soon.

“Earning final approval to launch our new Tokyo service represents a huge step forward for the future of Hawaiian Airlines and is terrific news for Hawaii’s tourism industry,” says Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO. “Hawaiian will bring much-needed competition to Tokyo, and we will offer superior service that allows our customers to start their Hawaii experience the moment they board our flights.”

Hawaiian Airlines' primary long-haul aircraft has been the Boeing 767-300ER throughout the first decade of the new millennium, but the aging type is being supplanted in Hawaiian Airlines service by up to 27 larger, more fuel-efficient Airbus A330-200s and A350 XWBs

Hawaiian’s nonstop daily flight will be timed to allow visitors to maximize their time in Hawaii. Flights are tentatively scheduled to depart Tokyo shortly before midnight and arrive in Honolulu around noon the same day local time, allowing travelers in Tokyo’s surrounding metropolitan area to leave after a full day of work and land in time to check in to a hotel and enjoy a first afternoon in Hawaii.

The return flight will depart Honolulu in early evening, allowing customers to enjoy a full last day in Hawaii and arrive in Tokyo in late evening the next day local time. (Tokyo is 19 hours ahead of Honolulu and the flight crosses the International Dateline.)

Hawaiian says the central-Tokyo location of Haneda International Airport will add to the convenience of its new service. Haneda’s near-downtown location is in contrast to Tokyo’s primary international gateway Narita International Airport, which is 40 miles northeast of the city.

In addition, says the airline, passengers on the new Tokyo-Honolulu flights will experience Hawaiian’s distinctive “Hawaii Starts Here” onboard service, showcasing the culture, music, natural beauty and people of Hawaii throughout the flight.

Hawaiian’s new Tokyo route also presents HawaiianMiles members with a new opportunity to accrue frequent flyer miles and take advantage of the travel benefits that come with membership in the program. Enrollment is free and available online at HawaiianAirlines.com.

The new Tokyo-Honolulu route is a key step in Hawaiian’s long-term plan to expand its service in Asia and other destinations using up to 27 new Airbus A330s and A350s that the company plans to integrate into its fleet over the coming decade.

Hawaiian will initially serve Haneda Airport with Boeing 767-300ERs seating up to 264 passengers, before introducing its new and larger 294-seat Airbus A330-200s onto the route.

As part of its expansion of international service, Hawaiian announced on June 30 that it will begin flying four services a week to Seoul-Incheon, South Korea in January 2011.

Now in its 81st year of continuous service for Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state’s biggest and longest-serving airline, as well as the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state’s primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides more than 150 daily jet flights between the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. Additional information is available on the airline’s website.