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Hawaiian kicks off flights to fourth Japanese city

Oct. 30, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.


HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaiian Airlines is launching its new service to Sapporo, Japan.

Hawaiian's inaugural flight to the city on the northern island of Hokkaido left Honolulu Tuesday morning. The airline plans to fly to Sapporo's New Chitose Airport three times a week.

Sapporo is Hawaiian's fourth destination in Japan. It's also the fifth-largest city in Japan, with a population of nearly 2 million.

Passengers on the inaugural flight received flower lei and were treated to a ceremony featuring Hawaiian music and hula, a Japanese cultural performance and a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO Mike McCartney estimates the flight will generate more than $60 million in visitor spending.

Hawaiian entered the Japanese market with a flight to Tokyo in November 2010. It later started flying to Osaka and Fukuoka.

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