Fukuoka will be Hawaiian Airlines' third destination in Japan and the fourth destination in Asia that Hawaiian is introducing within a two-year period, following...

Hawaiian Airlines plans to launch daily nonstop service between Honolulu and Fukuoka in Japan in April 2012, pending approval from the government of Japan.

Fukuoka will be Hawaiian Airlines’ third destination in Japan and the fourth destination in Asia that Hawaiian is introducing within a two-year period, following the launches of service from Honolulu to Tokyo in November 2010, Seoul in January 2011, and Osaka in July 2011.

“Demand for our services in Japan from Tokyo and Osaka has been extremely strong, and we are responding to similar demand for Hawaii from the travel community in Fukuoka,” says Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian’s president and CEO. “Our new Fukuoka flights will expand Hawaiian’s reach into an entirely new region of Japan, while providing a substantial boost to Hawaii’s visitor industry.”

Hawaiian Airlines' newest aircraft, the 294-seat Airbus A330-200, is seen flying above Hawaii

The new Fukuoka flights will feature Hawaiian’s pan-Asian inflight cuisine, Japanese entertainment options and special onboard products designed for travelers from Japan.

Fukuoka is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and the economic center of Kyushu, the third largest and most southerly of Japan’s four main islands. Altogether, Kyushu has approximately 13 million residents, of whom approximately five million live in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Japan’s oldest city and the closest major Japan city to mainland Asia, Fukuoka is known for its culture, entertainment and nightlife, as well as easy accessibility in and around the city and its natural attractions, including some of Japan’s best beaches. Fukuoka consistently ranks high in quality-of-life surveys for cities worldwide, according to Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian’s new Fukuoka flights will add approximately 100,000 new air seats annually to Hawaii from Japan, the state’s second-largest market for visitors. In addition, the airline says Fukuoka Airport’s proximity to Korea, China and other Asian countries will enhance Hawaiian’s ability to attract customers from other regions of the Asian continent, as well as other cities in southern Japan via high-speed rail transportation.

“The new direct flight is outstanding news for Hawaii’s visitor industry. This will be the only year-round daily scheduled service to Hawaii from Fukuoka, our sister state,” says Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “It is another sign that Japan is on its way to recovery and there is increasing demand for travel to Hawaii. The HTA estimates the flight will provide $154 million in visitor spending and $16.8 million in tax revenue annually. The HTA is committed to supporting Hawaiian Airlines to ensure the long-term success of this new route.”

Subject to Japan government approval, starting April 16, 2012, Hawaiian Flight HA453 will depart Honolulu International Airport (HNL) daily at 1:20 p.m. and arrive at Fukuoka Airport (FUK) at 6:40 p.m. the next day, local time. Starting April 17, Flight HA454 will depart Fukuoka daily at 9:00 p.m. and arrive at Honolulu at 10:00 a.m. the same day, local time. (Fukuoka is 19 hours ahead of Honolulu and the flight crosses the International Dateline.)

The start of ticket sales for the new Honolulu-Fukuoka route will be announced in coming weeks on Hawaiian’s Japanese-language website at www.HawaiianAirlines.co.jp, and its English-language website, www.HawaiianAirlines.com.

Hawaiian will initially operate the new Honolulu-Fukuoka flights with Boeing 767-300ERs that seat up to 264 passengers, before introducing its new and larger 294-seat Airbus A330-200s on the route.

The airline is on schedule to induct its fifth new Airbus A330-200 to its fleet next month and will take delivery of four more A330s in 2012.

Hawaiian Airlines says it has already begun hiring to fill 400-plus new staff positions being added to accommodate its expansion plans for 2012. Over the next six months, the company expects to hire 56 additional pilots, 275 additional flight attendants, 38 additional airport customer service agents and 40 additional maintenance personnel to be based in Honolulu.