HANEDA, Japan (HawaiiNewsNow) - This past March, the Japanese government gave three U.S. airlines the right to land at Tokyo's Haneda airport. Hawaiian Airlines was one of those lucky enough to be chosen for the much desired slot at the new Tokyo International.
We tagged along on the historic first flight to Japan.
Once we were airborne the flight attendants began serving meals and drinks but on these flights to and from Honolulu they have to provide the service with a little something called kikubari, or careful attention. Tim Sullivan was brought on board to train nearly thirteen hundred Hawaiian airline employees the art of Japanese customer service. "You try to read people's needs and you anticipate their needs and fulfill them before they ask you for it." he explained.
Hawaiian Air's first venture in and out Tokyo's Haneda airport offers one daily flight on their 264 seat Boeing 767. That's a potential one hundred-thousand new passengers annually. Most of whom will be Japanese visitors to Hawaii.
"The most important source of traffic in Asia is Japan, the most important source in Japan is Tokyo and the most important source in Tokyo is Haneda." said Mark Dunkerley Hawaiian Airlines' Chief Executive Officer.
And Haneda is proving to be as important to Hawaiian Air. The newly revamped airport is doing it's own promotions with new shopping centers and a food court done up in classical Japanese décor.
Hawaiian Air helped promote the airport's most important asset, two express rail lines that'll get you in and out of town in under twenty minutes.
"It's convenient for me because I can work my dayshift and go and catch the flight out at night." said Japanese traveler Masakazu Akazi.
For many Japanese wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, a trip to the airport made easy, might just attract a new untapped source of visitors to Hawaii.
The airline is poised to extend its reach into Korea soon. Flights begin landing in Seoul in January two thousand-eleven.