Business Profile: Hawaiian Vacations Inc.

PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
Name of the company: Hawaiian Vacations Inc.

Established: 1982

Location: 1010 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Anchorage, AK 99503

Telephone: 907-261-2700

Web site:

E-mail: [email protected]

Major focus of services: Hawaiian Vacations Inc. charters direct flights to Honolulu from Anchorage and handles other travel arrangements. The company owns Kihei Bay Vista, 20 condominiums in Maui.

History of the company: John Hardwick started Hawaiian Vacations in October 1982, initially marketing condo accommodations from properties owned by Alaskans. In the mid-1980s the company began providing flight services.

Since then Hawaiian Vacations has added more charter flights per week. Initially, the firm had one weekly charter flight. During peak season in winter Hawaiian Vacations tallies four to five weekly flights between Alaska and Hawaii.

In 2000, the company aimed to expand its market. One brand, Alaskan Vacations, markets the company’s services to northbound travelers from Hawaii. Fire and Ice Vacations handles similar travel services for visitors from Europe and Australia looking to visit both Alaska and Hawaii. Hawaiian Vacations has hired a contract employee in Japan to market its Alaska-Hawaii travel services.

Since April 2001 the company has been developing an e-commerce Web site where customers and travel agents can check prices, book tickets and receive instant confirmation. Hawaiian Vacations is working with Hawaii-based software developer Viata for the custom site, which should be launched in mid-summer.

Hawaiian Vacations employs an average of 50 year-round workers, all in Alaska. Last year, about 40,000 customers flew via Hawaiian Vacations.

Top accomplishments of the company: David Karp, vice president and chief operating officer, cited Hawaiian Vacations’ increasing frequency of weekly charter flights since beginning service. In early 2003 the company operating Hawaiian Vacations’ charter flights plans to operate newer aircraft between Alaska and Hawaii, he said. The new Web site also marks a significant achievement, said Phil Okeson, vice president and chief financial officer. A goal for the company includes running a charter flight between Alaska and Japan, Karp said.

Major players: Karp, chief operating officer, and Okeson, chief financial officer, Hawaiian Vacations.

Karp and Okeson joined the company three years ago, leading operations for the owners, Hardwick and his wife Ral West. Karp, raised in Nome, worked for the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, then at the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council. Okeson, who grew up in Palmer, worked as an accountant at KPMG LLP in Anchorage and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan. He worked in Seattle for six years before returning to Alaska to raise his family.

-- Nancy Pounds

06/09/2002 - 8:00pm