Sacramentans get nonstop flights to Kona as Hawaiian air wars heat up

Alaska Airlines will fly from Sacramento to Kona on the big island of Hawaii starting in December.
Alaska Airlines will fly from Sacramento to Kona on the big island of Hawaii starting in December. AP

Sacramento fliers will be able to jet directly to the biggest of the major Hawaiian islands for the first time starting in December.

Alaska Airlines on Tuesday announced it will fly three days a week to and from Kona International Airport on the big island, Hawaii, beginning Dec. 20.

The flights will leave Sacramento on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.

"We know our customers love Hawaii, even in sunny California," said John Kirby, an executive at Alaska Airlines. “This new route shows Alaska’s ongoing commitment to continued growth and investment throughout the West Coast.”

The announcement means airlines will be flying nonstop by year's end to three Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui and Hawaii.

Alaska currently flies daily to Maui, and Hawaiian Airlines currently flies daily nonstop to Honolulu.

Southwest Airlines has announced it also will begin flying to Hawaii, but has not yet announced where or when. Sacramento International Airport officials say they believe Southwest will begin its Hawaii flights early next year.

Mark Haneke of Sacramento International Airport said Tuesday's announcement by Alaska allows it to stake a bigger claim on service to Hawaii before rival Southwest begins its flights.

"It's a good move on the part of Alaska," he said. "Sacramento is a market that hasn't seen its full potential. We are going to see more competition and lower fares."

Kauai is the only major Hawaiian island left without a nonstop flight from Sacramento. "My gut feel is we will get that, eventually," Haneke said.

Brian Hoffman of Charleston, SC talks about being stranded for the past two days at Charlotte Douglas International Airport due to the problem with the crew scheduling and tracking system at PSA Airlines, a regional subsidiary of American Airlines.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee