The first flight from Singapore through Osaka landed in Honolulu today. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
A Hawaiian welcome greeted Scoot -- the low-cost Singapore Airlines carrier -- at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. It was the first direct flight to Hawai’i in 20 years and the first to a U-S destination. Governor David Ige says the 4 weekly flights could provide nearly 80 million dollars annually in visitor spending.
“The starting of service for Scoot is just expanded capacity for visitors to come to Hawai’i. But, just as importantly, is for residents of Hawai’i to be able to travel to Osaka and, ultimately, Singapore.”
Hawai’i Tourism Authority president and CEO, George Szigeti, says the Southeast Asia market has grown by 28 percent since last year to 21-thousand visitors.
“If you saw the news this morning, they had one-way to Singapore for $80 for local residents so that was pretty enticing. But, I think competition is good. You’re gonna see competitive airfares which is good for Hawai’i.”
Justin Bykler is an English teacher in Osaka. He’s on a 10-day Hawai’i vacation with his wife, Miyuki, and their two young daughters.
“We’re so happy to get a direct flight from Osaka to Hawai’i. I think we’ll take this flight many times. We’re going to Kualoa Ranch and we’re going to the beach and we’ll try snorkeling and many other things.”
The wide-body aircraft carried 319 passengers. Captain Eugene Anthony says the flight arrived early.
“We fly a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It’s the latest in the industry. The flight time today was 6 hours and about 15 minutes ‘cause we picked up a very good tailwind. Our ground speed was in excess of 1200km/hour.”
That’s 745 miles per hour. CEO, Lee Lik Hsin, says the airline intends to expand its service area.
“We like to think of ourselves as not just serving Singapore but the rest of Southeast Asia. And, typically, for residents of Hawai’i, if you go all the way out to Singapore, you’re not only gonna visit one country. You want to go to Thailand, you wanna go to Indonesia and we allow for that through very affordable airfares throughout the whole region.”
Scoot also donated 20-thousand dollars to Na Kama Kai, a local non-profit that educates Keiki about the importance of taking care of Hawai’i’s natural environment. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.