Hawaiian Airlines to Increase Career Access to College Students

Hawaiian Airlines has partnered up with local college Honolulu Community College (HonCC) to offer more graduating students the opportunity to become aviation maintenance technicians. With the help of the Aeronautics Maintenance (AERO) program, the college aims to enroll 100 students by Autumn 2023.

Students from the aeronautics program drilling into a piece of metal.
This partnership will enable more students to access the aviation industry | © Hawaiian Airlines

Aviation’s Next Generation of Technicians

In the past year, Hawaii has seen a significant growth in the aviation industry as tourism and trade continue throughout the islands. To support this growth, however, an estimated 610,000 maintenance technicians are required over the next two years – to which the AERO program offered at HonCC aims to assist with.

“We are grateful for this partnership with Hawaiian Airlines, which perfectly blends the strengths of each of our institutions. Our goal at Honolulu Community College is to not only provide students with a valuable education, but also a pathway to a meaningful and productive career. Our AERO program is the only one of its kind in the Pacific Basin, so this unique initiative will allow us to educate and train more aviation technicians who are ready to enter the workforce in Hawai’i.” – Karen C. Lee, interim chancellor at Honolulu Community College.

Hawaiian Airlines aircraft
Hawaiian Airlines partners with many local businesses to provide essential funding and support for communities | © Flickr user JBabinski380

The AERO Program

HonCC’s AERO program is said to be one of its more popular courses, where students are taught by highly-skilled professionals in manufacturing and at the end of the program, are awarded with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance certification. Hawaiian Airlines’ Bill Kinsley and Jason Anderson are to become teachers on the course as they expect to see an increase in students who want to learn all about the aviation industry.

A further opportunity known as the Aircraft Maintenance Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) is also working alongside HonCC to provide the needed skills to become an aircraft maintenance technician, as students engage in part-time shifts at Hawaiian’s aircraft maintenance hangar alongside their studies.

“The opportunity to prepare our next generation of aircraft mechanics with relevant, real-world practical skills and expertise is a privilege. The Aviation Maintenance Technician Program has always been a challenging course of study, but well worth the effort.” – Kinsley, one of Hawaiian’s instructors.

Two men inspecting the right wing of a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft.
The Aircraft Mechanic Apprenticeship program (AMAP) brings students the opportunity to do paid work alongside their part-time courses | © Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines: Hawaii’s Longest Serving Airline

Established in 1929, Hawaiian Airlines has gone on to achieve multiple accolades, including the US Department of Transportation’s award for Most On-time Performance, where they came in the first place 17 years in a row (2004-2017). The airline has also been heavily active within the Hawaiian community, with its foundation donating annual grants to programs that aim to help the achievements of students and the prosperity of their ecosystems.

Earlier this month, the Hawaiian Airlines Foundation granted non-profit Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi $100,000 to go towards their Ho’olauana Wash Pack Station: a 4,000-square-foot area equipped to help local farmers in the He’eia district process and sell their produce at a quality standard. Agriculture is an important sector for Hawaii’s economy as food grown is not only for consumption, but for businesses to export the goods, as well. Johnathon Kanekoa Kukea Shultz, executive director of Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi, made a statement expressing the organisation’s gratitude, where he said:

“We truly appreciate and are humbled by all the support we’ve received from Hawaiian Airlines over the years. Hundreds of airline employees and their families have worked our loʻi, helping to restore wetland kalo agriculture that was once prevalent in the area… The generous grant from the Foundation will enable us to advance our efforts to revive the region’s rich agricultural heritage and support farmers who are carrying on family traditions.”

HonCC’s AERO program have opened applications for their course beginning in Spring 2023, with December 15th being the deadline for all applicants.

What are your thoughts on the AERO program? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kirsty Atek
Kirsty Atek
Kirsty Atek is a visual artist based in London who is interested in sustainability.


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