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Hawaiian, Korean Air team up


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hawaiian Airlines, which made its first solo foray into Asia 13 months ago when it initiated service to Manila, is broadening its global presence by expanding its code-share agreement with Korean Airlines.

The state's largest carrier said its booking codes will be placed beginning June 15 on flights operated by Korean between Incheon, South Korea, and Honolulu, as well as on flights between Incheon and Busan in South Korea and other points in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand.

"This new agreement is all part of increasing Hawaiian's presence in Asia, expanding our relationship with Korean Airlines, and could lead to complementary service by Hawaiian in the future," Hawaiian Chief Executive Mark Dunkerley said.

Code-sharing allows an airline to expand its network without the added cost of more planes and employees.

Dunkerley said he expects to see pent-up demand in South Korea for travel to the U.S.—and particularly Hawaii—due to South Korea's recent addition to the U.S. visa waiver program.

"Incheon is the largest air travel hub in Northeast Asia, so in combination with our own nonstop service to Manila, Hawaiian will soon be able to offer our customers convenient gateways to all of Asia," he said.

Dunkerley said the expanded code-share with Korean will develop Hawaiian's presence in that part of Asia "and bring forward the day when we can expand in our own right."

He said the timing now isn't right due to the condition of the U.S. and South Korean economies, as well as Hawaiian's open labor contracts.

Hawaiian and Korean airlines began their code-sharing relationship in 2007, which allowed Korean to put its booking code on Hawaiian's flights among the islands and between Hawaii and the mainland.