Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: October 15, 2001

AFTER THREE MONTHS of practice and study, Hawaii's harbor pilots agreed to steer the cruise industry's new megaships into Kauai's challenging Nawiliwili harbor. Earlier this year the pilots twice balked at bringing in Celebrity Cruises' 965-foot-long, 91,000-ton Infinity into the port for a variety of reasons including weather conditions, the difficult and narrow "S" shaped approach to the pier, the large size of the ship and the pilots' unfamiliarity with piloting the new megaships. After spending the summer practicing and observing in Alaska and Florida, the pilots now say they are ready to bring in the ships, but only under "ideal weather conditions." "The Hawaii Pilots Association will continue to evaluate the appropriateness and safety of bringing these ships into Nawiliwili in the future," according to a letter to state officials from the pilots.

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES inked a code-share and marketing agreement with Alaska Airlines. The agreement allows Alaska Airlines to sell seats on Hawaiian routes and Hawaiian to sell seats on Alaska routes. It also allows the two carriers to participate in both frequent flyer programs. Hawaiian said the agreement will expand it's reach into 21 new Alaska markets while Alaska will expand its reach into 15 Hawaiian markets. Hawaiian already has code-share agreements with American, Continental and Northwest airlines.

AMERICANS are returning to Hawaii at a rapid pace following huge and immediate declines in visitor numbers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The number of Americans visiting Hawaii from Oct. 1 through Oct. 7 was down an average 15% compared with the same week last year, according to the latest statistics released by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. That drop-off is in stark comparison to the week immediately following Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when the number of American visitors was down an average 32% compared with the same week a year before.

ALOHA AIRLINES is offering a roundtrip fare from Oakland, Calif., to Honolulu, Maui or Kona on the Big Island for $320 through Oct. 22 for travel through Dec.15. The sale also is good from the Orange County, Calif., airport to Honolulu or Maui.

OUTRIGGER HOTELS & RESORTS will manage the Fairway Villas, a condominium resort under construction at the Waikoloa resort on the Big Island. The resort will open some time in the first quarter of next year. The 165-unit property will be called the Outrigger Fairway Villas. Outrigger already owns and manages a hotel at Waikoloa called the Outrigger Waikoloa Beach Hotel. Guests at the condominium resort will be allowed to eat and use the hotel's spa and business center at the hotel and have the charges appear on their condo bill.

AMERICAN HAWAII CRUISES and United States Lines said they are cutting air and cruise packages for weeklong Hawaiian island cruises by 50% of the brochure rate from Nov. 17 through December. The deal on the Patriot and the Independence is good from select West Coast gateway cities and start at $899 per person on the Independence and $999 on the Patriot. Passengers who make bookings by Nov. 15 will get a bonus one-night hotel stay in Waikiki.

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