KONA, HAWAII – Across Oregon, temperatures are dropping and rain and fog are rolling in, but the warm, sunny beaches of Hawaii’s Big Island just got closer thanks to a new Alaska Airlines flight between Portland International Airport and Kona International Airport that starts today.
Alaska Airlines’ new seasonal flight departs Portland (PDX) for Kona (KOA) four days a week, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, through April 9. The flights are operated with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which accommodate 157 passengers (141 in the main cabin; 16 in first class). They depart PDX at 5:40 p.m. and arrive at KOA at 9:50 p.m. The return flight leaves KOA at 9:25 a.m. and arrives at PDX at 5 p.m.
The airline also added a Seattle winter route direct to Kona this week. Alaska Airlines already flies daily between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and KOA, and the new seasonal flight provides service opposite the Portland leg: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The new flights couldn’t come at a better time for Hawai’i Island.
“These new flights have the potential to bring an additional 24, 178 visitors from the Pacific Northwest to Kona between now and April 9 if each flight runs at capacity. That’s 14,130 arrivals from Portland, and 10,048 from Seattle,” said Big Island Visitors Bureau Executive Director George Applegate.
“This is a big, positive boost to our winter travel season,” Applegate said. “Travelers from the Pacific Northwest enjoy the Big Island for our adventurous offerings, excellent weather and our cultural diversity. We are an ideal match.”
In 2009, 26,360 people from Portland-Salem visited Hawai’i Island, making that region the fifth largest market area in the U.S. for the island. Seattle is the Big Island’s third largest market area. Last year, 54,875 visitors arrived from Seattle.
To celebrate the inaugural Portland flight, departing passengers will be given Big Island goodie bags at PDX, and upon arrival in Kona, will be greeted with fresh orchid lei, while Hawaiian musicians and hula dancers entertain them. The new Portland flight joins three other cities Alaska Airlines services to KOA: Seattle, WA; San Jose, CA and Oakland, CA.
For information and reservations on Alaska Airlines, visit www.alaskaair.com or call toll-free, (800) 252-7522.
For more information on Hawai’i’s Big Island, please visit http://gohawaii.com/big-island
Submitted by Big Island Visitors Bureau Media