After a seven-year absence, Japan Airlines is returning to Kona International Airport.
On Sept. 15, JAL will launch a daily, non-stop service from Narita International Airport in Tokyo.
The airline already operates six non-stop flights between Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Honolulu.
This latest addition is expected to bring about $84.2 million in visitor expenditures and about $9.8 million in state tax revenue, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The service will also support about 900 jobs on Hawaii island.
“The return of JAL to Kona is significant because it represents a rebirth of a vital route between the Hawaiian islands and Japan,” said Gov. David Ige. “It reinforces the development of Kona as Hawaii’s second international airport and U.S. port of entry. It also will maintain the momentum for continued marketing growth of Hawaii’s tourism economy by diversifying this growth to the neighbor islands.”
“As part of our corporate reorganization to downsize business by 30 percent, this service was suspended in October 2010. This suspension caused inconvenience to our customers who wanted to visit Kona, but also the many here in Hawaii. We have received messages from the locals expressing deep regret for our flight suspension,” said JAL chairman Masaru Onishi. “We made a vow back in 2010, we would return again.”
The Narita-Kona flights will operate with fully revamped JAL SKY SUITE 767 (767-300ER) aircraft that seats 199 passengers.
The flights will depart Narita at 9:25 p.m. and arrive in Kona at 10:15 a.m. Service from Kona will depart at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Narita at 4 p.m. the next day.
Schedules are subject to government approval.