Hawaiian Airlines today launched the only daily nonstop service from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to Honolulu.
Festivities celebrating the service began Monday at Honolulu International Airport, where the flight headed for JFK departed on-time and received a water cannon salute on taxi out to the runway. It's about a 10-hour flight in each direction. And the airline is flying brand new, twin-aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route with 18 first class seats and 276 in economy.
Hawaiian also today began placing its airline code on select JetBlue flights in a codesharing agreement that will allow passengers from both airlines to make seamless connections at JFK. Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits will also allow members to earn and redeem points or miles for travel on either airline.
Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer for Hawaiian, tells CNBC.com the Eastern U.S. is the second largest market to Hawaii after the West coast and thinks the market is big enough to support an additional flight from the area. United Airlines currently operates a daily nonstop flight from nearby Newark Liberty International Airport.
Ingram also mentions advance bookings for the JFK flight are very strong and have higher load factors — the percentage of available seats filled — than many of the mature West coast markets to Hawaii.
Hawaiian flight 50 departs Honolulu daily at 3:05 p.m. and arrives at JFK at 6:55 a.m. the following morning. Flight 51 departs JFK at 10:00 a.m. and arrives at Honolulu at 3:05 p.m.
For more information about the new service, click here.