At 7.35 this evening, an Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER aircraft will depart for the first time from Brisbane Airport heading east across the Pacific Ocean, direct to Honolulu. At a flying time of nine hours and 15 minutes - the flight will be the fastest connection between Australia and the States.
The introduction of an HA Brisbane/Honolulu service, which will fly three times a week, is testament to the successful growth of the airline over the past decade.
Sherilyn Robinson is the airline's General Manager for Sales and Marketing Australia.
"Hawaiian Airlines has grown steadily in Australia, particularly in the past two years, when we've moved from four flights per week to daily departures from Sydney. We always planned to add services from a second city in Australia once customer demand justified the expansion, and Brisbane was a natural choice," said Sherilyn.
"Not only do our new flights serve Brisbane and South-East Queensland. They also provide a convenient new option for passengers from elsewhere in Queensland, as well as from northern New South Wales and several interstate capitals, particularly Melbourne and Adelaide."
The airline, which traces its history back to 1929 and carries around 8 million customers each year, has always had a mandate to make Hawaii accessible to all Australians.
"We've brought competition to the market, and in doing so helped to build awareness of the destination and all it has to offer. Not only do we fly to Honolulu, on the gateway island of Oahu, we also fly to the neighbour islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island, as well as to 11 mainland US destinations including Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York. And because of the strong Australian dollar and competitive prices in the USA, a holiday in Hawaii, or a stopover on the way to or from the mainland, has become even more attractive."
Because Hawaiian Airlines is the national carrier of the state, passengers who fly with HA commence their holiday the moment they board the plane - the cabin crew, who are all locals, greet guests with a warm Hawaiian smile and are on hand to offer insider tips about the islands. There is also Hawaii-themed catering, video and audio entertainment.
"Hawaiian is a full service leisure airline. We offer Business and Economy Class cabins on our flights from Australia to Hawaii, and every fare includes meals, drinks blankets, earplugs and of course our signature offering of authentic Hawaiian service, which no other carrier can replicate. On our Boeing 767s from Brisbane, we offer free mainscreen video entertainment, plus the added option of even more movies, TV programmes, games and music channels on portable dig-E-players, which are available for rent in Economy Class and are provided free in Business Class," said Sherilyn.
"The other benefit of flying Hawaiian is our generous checked luggage allowance on flights from Australia to Hawaii and the mainland, with every passenger entitled to two items of checked luggage, each weighing up to 32 kilograms. And that's excluding personal cabin luggage."
Sherilyn says that the individual Hawaiian islands are different, and each worthy of a visit. Everyone flying Hawaiian from Australia enters the country through Honolulu, on the gateway island of Oahu, where attractions include the world-famous Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbour and big-brand bargain shopping.
"But that's just the start. Kauai has spectacular rainforest and the amazing Waimea Canyon, which has been described as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Maui has beautiful secluded beaches, and picture postcard tropical settings. Hawaii Island has both an active volcano and a cross country ski field! How do pick a favourite spot in Hawaii? My best suggestion is to see it all, then compare."