Hawaii tourism officials gathered for a small ceremony on Oct. 29 to see off the final Japan Airlines flight between Kona and Narita International Airport. The route was one of 15 the carrier decided to suspend in 2010 during its restructuring process through bankruptcy.
"The JAL flight is without a doubt the most important international route for Hawaii Island. The positive impact it has made on our economy for the last 14 years is highly significant, and we truly hope to welcome JAL back someday," said Big Island Visitors Bureau Executive Director George Applegate.
According to Hawaii tourism officials, the JAL nonstop flight has carried more than 980,000 passengers between Narita and Kona since its initial trip in 1996. The flight also transported a range of Big Island exports, including macadamia nuts, papaya, coffee, abalone and desalinated sea water, to the Japanese market.