Continental ups
flights to Hawaii

Continental Airlines will introduce direct service between Houston, Texas, and Kahului, Maui, on June 28, increasing its mainland-Hawaii flights by 25 percent. The new service will use a Boeing 767-400 aircraft, seating 235 passengers, 200 in coach and 35 in what it calls BusinessFirst.

Gov. Linda Lingle, hosting Continental officials in her office for the announcement yesterday, praised Continental for increasing service while others have cut seats to Hawaii.

Lingle, a former Maui mayor, said the announcement also shows Continental's confidence in Maui as a destination. Rex Johnson, executive director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, called the expansion to Maui a vote of confidence in Hawaii's appeal as a destination.

Continental said it expects the flights to increase visitor traffic to Hawaii from Texas, as well as from East Coast and Midwest points that connect to Continental's Houston hub.

Ron Wright, Continental's managing director for Hawaii, said the Maui expansion is warranted by continuing strength in Honolulu business.

Continental now has four nonstop flights from the mainland to Honolulu each day -- two from Houston, one from Newark, N.J., and one from Los Angeles.

Japan-Hawaii flights have recently been reduced by Northwest Airlines and Japan Airlines, while United Airlines suspended one of its four daily San Francisco-Honolulu flights from May 5 through June 11.


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