From Our Files

Aloha Airlines


In 1888, King Kalakaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.

On March 31, Aloha Airlines shut down its passenger service after more than 60 years of flying Hawaii residents to the Neighbor Islands and, later, to the Mainland. The historic closure left 1,900 workers without jobs. Many of its longtime customers also had a hard time saying goodbye to Aloha, which at closing was flying 700 interisland flights each week.  

There was some good news last month, when it was announced that the airline’s cargo unit would be saved. The operation, which transports 85 percent of all goods that travel from Oahu to the Neighbor Islands, will continue under new owner Saltchuk Resources, which owns Young Brothers/Hawaiian Tug & Barge.

Here’s a look back at Aloha Airlines’ early years, as documented in Paradise of the Pacific, predecessor to HONOLULU Magazine:


A photo of Aloha’s Fairchild F-2 jetprop plane (left), featured in the September 1959 issue of Paradise of the Pacific. “The only practical way to get around between the Islands that make up the 50th state is by plane. … It’s no longer necessary to take along a calabash of poi and a few laulaus for a snack—the pretty stewardesses serve pineapple juice!”


Aloha Airlines got its start under another name, Trans-Pacific Airlines, in 1946. It wasn’t until local investor Hung Wo Ching took over the company’s management in 1958 that the airline was renamed Aloha. In an April 1959 story, Paradise of the Pacific ran this photo (right) of Aloha’s “puka camera windows.” “An exclusive feature of Aloha Airlines Vistaliners permits passengers to slide back panel and photograph island scenery without window pane distortion,” the magazine writes.





A colorful advertisement (left) on the back cover of the August 1969 issue of Paradise welcomes passengers to fly Aloha’s new Boeing 737s, which commercial airlines had only begun using the year before.