Big Island to Welcome the Concorde

Reed Travel Features

ST. LOUIS -- The Big Island will see the arrival of the Concorde again this year.

Intrav, a tour operator here, is offering Kona as the first stop on its 24-day Around the World by Supersonic Concorde tour for the second consecutive year.

Last year, Keahole-Kona Airport replaced Honolulu as the Hawaii stop, resulting in the first Concorde landing at a neighbor-island airport.

"We wanted a relaxing first stop, where passengers could really unwind. Kona worked beautifully," Robert Ford, Intrav operations director, said.

As in 1996, there will be three departures: Sept. 16 (Air France), Sept. 30 (British Airways) and Oct. 9 (Air France).

The Around the World tour is priced at $52,800 per person.

Passengers will stay two nights at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, where they have a welcome reception and dinner and take a helicopter tour.

Other stops are in Queens-

town, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Bejing; Hong Kong; Delhi, India; Kenya, and London.

The Concorde flights start in New York, picking up passengers in Dallas and Las Vegas before continuing to Kona.

The inclusion of Kona in the program was a coup for the Big Island.

Kona, with low-rise, wooden terminal buildings, is the oldest of the neighbor-island airports and the only one without loading bridges or air conditioning.

Ken Johnston, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau Big Island executive director, said the success of the Kona stop, with the return of the Concorde, is a credit to the island.

Hawaii County and HVCB again have arranged for planeside transportation, hula dancers, leis and gifts of Kona coffee and macadamia nuts for passengers.

Intrav also is including Kona in a new program, its Around the World by Private Jet tour.

Kona will be the first stop on the 25-day tour, which has one departure, Sept. 25.

Passengers on the tour, who will fly an American Trans Air L-1011 with reconfigured seating, will stay three nights at the new Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in North Kona.

For more information, call Intrav at (800) 234-6900.

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