CHICAGO, Ill. – United Airlines today launches new daily nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Hilo, Hawai‘i (ITO). In addition, United will begin once-weekly nonstop service to Hilo from its San Francisco hub beginning June 11. The flights, operated by Continental Airlines, are the only nonstop service to Hilo from the U.S. mainland and complement the airline’s existing service to four other cities in Hawai‘i: Honolulu, Kahului, Kona and Lihue.
Continental pilot and B737 flight instructor Lance Lau, a native of Hilo, will serve as captain on today’s flight, which departs Los Angeles at 5 p.m. and arrives in Hilo at 7:40 p.m. The return flight departs Hilo at 8:55 p.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 5:15 a.m. the following day. At a gate event in Los Angeles, Hilo radio personality and well-known community figure DJ Gumby will broadcast live from the airport and hold a trivia contest with customers. Award-winning singer and songwriter Robert Cazimero – who has led a resurgence of Hawai‘ian music, language, dance and culture since the 1970s – will perform a traditional Hawai‘ian blessing known as a “pule” at the event before joining Captain Lau, DJ Gumby and other customers on the inaugural flight.
“Together, United and Continental have served Hawai‘i for more than six decades, and this new nonstop service provides our customers with more extensive access to the islands,” said Jim Compton, executive vice president and chief revenue officer of United Continental Holdings, Inc. “We are excited to strengthen our presence in the Hawai‘ian community and are proud to be the only carrier to offer nonstop service to Hilo from the mainland.”
“We are proud to host United Airlines’ direct flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco,” said County of Hawai‘i Mayor Billy Kenoi. “It means we can offer our visitors true Hilo hospitality and show them premier attractions such as Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the world-famous annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. We believe our guests will love Hilo as much as we do and will want to return.”
United has served Hawai‘i since 1947 and – from its hubs at Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Chicago and New York/Newark – provides more mainline service to the islands than any other U.S. carrier. Continental will utilize a Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the route, with 16 seats in first class and 144 seats in economy.