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Hawaiian Airlines Commemorates Special Month For Native Language

A Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200 aircraft. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

In an industry notoriously known for having the ability to challenge uncertainty and competition through business models and calculations, the COVID-19 crisis created a significant amount of doubt, pushing major airlines to use their maximum capabilities. The ongoing dilemma left several major airlines scrambling to modify schedules, suspend routes and adjust the size of the workforce, due to low travel demand and load factors.  However, airlines have a window of opportunity to combat and ease the impacts by using creativity and infusing innovative methods into their operations to relieve the appalling effects. 

Recently, Hawaiian Airlines – an airline notable for its decorative cabin and floral uniforms – officially commenced its celebrations for Hawaiian Language month, locally known in Hawaii as ‘Mahina Olelo Hawai’i. The Honolulu-based carrier began the month by operating four special flights between Honolulu and Kona, where its flight attendants greeted and interacted with the passengers in both English and native Hawaiian. 

“Our Hawaiian language flights are a great way to normalize the Hawaiian language,” flight attendant Mālia Kruger, who worked on the flights, said.“We have hundreds of kamaʻāina and malihini (new) guests that fly with us every day so it’s a way for us to reach a broader community and get their ears used to hearing the language of our land.”

The passengers also received an ‘Ohelo Hawai’i’ salutation card, featuring phrases for passengers to use onboard with the crew who were fluent in the native language. Furthermore, the flag carrier for the state of Hawaii intends to partner with local clothing designers where sales proceeds go towards local charter schools and spreading awareness for Hawaiian culture. 

“We are proud ambassadors of our island home, and our employees embrace the opportunity to share the Hawaiian culture with each other and our guests,” Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Director of Community and Cultural Relations at Hawaiian, said. “We’re excited to grow Mahina ‘Olelo Hawai’i this year with a new design collaboration and school partnership while continuing to engage our guests with a unique onboard experience.”

An Airline Destined To Spread Culture

Hawaiian Airlines’ ability to continue its traditional and cultural celebrations while expanding to different methods for festivities throughout February will not be the only moments they will commemorate. In early December, the airline officially announced new flight operations to three more cities on the mainland U.S. and expanding from one of its destinations in Calif. for the spring.

“We are delighted to bring our superior value proposition to travelers visiting Hawaii from Austin, Ontario and Orlando while adding service to Maui from Long Beach,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines. “2021 is going to be a special time to experience Hawai‘i, and we can’t wait to welcome onboard guests from our newest cities,”
a philosophy characterized by the airline’s decision to pump much of its effort into its U.S. Mainland Pre-Clear testing program at airports in its active route map and spreading the airline’s operations and culture to more destinations. 

Hawaiian Airlines plans to fly its new routes with the Airbus A330. The A330 is currently the carrier’s only widebody aircraft and a powerhouse for its long-haul operations, giving the airline the opportunity to bring awareness of the native Hawaiian culture to more passengers.

Clearly, Hawaiian Airlines has recognized and used a potential, unique strategy to overcome the obstacles of the COVID-19 catastrophe to bring more passengers to Hawaii to experience the culture. If the airline continues to explore more creative methods to transform and alter the passengers’ onboard experience, especially for its new routes, the carrier will be well on its way to getting through COVID-19 and extending its traditions.

Benjamin Pham


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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