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Hirono: New Japan Airlines Flight from Tokyo to Kona Further Strengthens Hawaii Island Economy

Nonstop Flight Returns to Hawaii Island Following Seven Year Hiatus

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono applauded the reestablishment of Japan Airlines’ direct service from Narita International Airport in Tokyo to Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport following a seven year hiatus. Renewed service from Tokyo to Kona, which began today, will further strengthen Hawaii Island’s visitor industry and economy.

“I welcome the return of Japan Airlines to Kona. Hawaii’s deep ties with Japan and today’s flight helps to grow our state’s visitor industry and economy,” said Senator Hirono. “Reopening of the FIS facility at Kona International Airport provides another opportunity to expand the Island of Hawaii’s international visitor market.”

Following the closure of the temporary Kona Federal Inspection Services (FIS) facility in 2010, Senator Hirono brought together top state and federal officials, and community leaders to work on establishing a permanent facility. After years of advocacy, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reopened a temporary FIS facility in December 2016. Senator Hirono toured the facility and welcomed the inaugural flight from Tokyo Haneda to Kona on Hawaiian Airlines later that month.

According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, nearly 1.5 million Japanese citizens visited Hawaii in 2016 -- spending over $1 billion in the state’s economy and supporting over 26,000 jobs.