Two Of Hawaiian Airlines’ Major Milestones Are Being Honored After 94 Years

Hawaiian Airlines is set to commemorate two major milestones nearly a century after they took place: the first commercial flight of Hawaiian Airlines and the youngest passenger to board an aeroplane. The airline invited this individual for a ceremonial flight in honour of this significant event.

Two Major Events For The Company

Hawaiian Airlines, the tenth-largest commercial airline in the US and the primary provider of commercial flights to and from the US state of Hawaii, recently marked the 94th anniversary of two significant milestones. On October 6, 1929, the airline commenced operations. Since then, it has maintained an impeccable safety record, never experiencing a fatal incident or hull loss. Additionally, it consistently ranks at the top of lists of American carriers for on-time performance and boasts the fewest cancellations, over sales, and baggage handling issues.

The first scheduled trip between John Rodgers Airport in Honolulu and Hilo Airport, both in the island state of Hawaii, was made ninety-four years ago by two amphibious Sikorsky-S38 aircraft that belonged to Inter-Island Airways Ltd (the airline’s previous name). A few months later, Ben Lee, who was 11 months old, was carried onboard by his mother and took his first trip as the airline’s youngest passenger.

First Commercial Flight For Hawaiian Airlines

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin dated November 11, 1929. It mentions Air Day and the military assembling that day. Ⓒ Hawaiian Airlines
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin dated November 11, 1929. It mentions Air Day and the military assembling that day. Ⓒ Hawaiian Airlines

Inter-Island Airways Ltd. made its maiden flight in 1929, marking the introduction of air travel to Hawaii’s territory. The journey from John Rodgers Airport in Honolulu to Hilo Airport, with a stop at Ma’alaea Airport on the island of Maui, took 3 hours and 15 minutes. This was a significant improvement over the 14-hour steamer voyage or the two-week journey by canoe that was previously the norm.

The debut of the first commercial flight was a significant occasion for the Hawaiian Islands. A hangar was filled with spectators, witnessing an airshow featuring approximately five different types of military aircraft. Stanley Kennedy, the founder of Hawaiian Airlines, had previously conducted passenger flights. The company founder had experimented with Bellanca Pacemaker CH-300 sightseeing excursions before establishing regional air transportation services.

The Youngest Passenger On Hawaiian Airlines

A story from a newspaper from the same week Lee made his flightⒸ Hawaiian Airlines
A story from a newspaper from the same week Lee made his flight. Ⓒ Hawaiian Airlines

As a present for the occasion, Hawaiian Airlines flew Lee and his grandson aboard the same Bellanca CH-300 that he was seen travelling on with his mother 94 years before. They took a tour of Oahu’s attractions.

A 94-year-old veteran, Ben Lee has witnessed the firm’s evolution through World War II and the Korean War. As the youngest passenger during those conflicts, he experienced civilian and enlisted life. He also participated in the airline’s 55th-anniversary celebrations, during which the company and its passengers reenacted the first Neighbor Islands route, which ran from Honolulu to Hilo with a stop at Maalaea Airport on Maui.

The Bellanca CH-300, which was in use from the beginning of the company’s flights until it was replaced by Sikorsky amphibious aircraft, is still in operational condition. The aircraft underwent several significant repairs over the years. Ben Lee had the opportunity to board this aircraft during the celebration, the one in front of which young Lee was photographed with his mother.

Although once an island-based airline, Hawaiian Airlines is today a global tour operator. Several Asia-Pacific nations and territories, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, are destinations for the firm.

Would you like to know more about the history of the airlines you may use to travel every day? Comment and let us know!

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