Mark Dunkerley

Chris Fleck
Wednesday - February 23, 2011
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Hawaiian Airlines has been flying proudly for more than 80 years. Its airplanes soar as a symbol of aloha, paradise and pleasure. Since 2003, Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, has brought his passion for aviation to the office every day, regardless of what time zone he may be in.

An appreciative leader, Dunkerley gives credit to all the employees who consistently maintain Hawaiian Airlines operations.

“Everyone at Hawaiian is absolutely tremendous,” he says. “They embody everything that is our company in terms of goals, service quality, customer care and professionalism. Their hard work has made my job as easy as it can be.”

Dunkerley stresses the company’s resilience and constant upward gain, especially in the last decade

“We’ve had a lot of people hired over the past few years who have only experienced the good times, and I hope it remains that way,” says Dunkerley, who was on MidWeek‘s cover on Nov. 8, 2006. “For those who have been around a bit longer, it is the resilience and their willingness to entrust in the direction and decisions that we’ve made along the way that have enabled us to alter our trajectory and head upward.”

And that upward trajectory includes the service and route expansion to the Mainland, South Pacific and Asia, including most recently services to Tokyo and Seoul. “It is important that tourism continues to grow and that we bring more tourists here,” he says. “It will help employ more people and assist in our recovery. We are enormously fortunate to be close to Asia, the fastest growing region in the world.”

Dunkerley has learned to understand - and Hawaiian Airlines has adapted to - aviation as a dynamic business.

“No two years have ever been the same. What is important to survive is to be competitive and not rest or believe what you did last year will be good enough the following year,” says Dunkerley, who just returned from Sydney, Australia, where he finalized daily flight agreements to start in April. “Hawaiian Airlines and Hawaii are inseparable, and that is the way we always want it to be.”

Since he was a young boy, flying has always been Dunkerley’s passion, and lately he’s been giddy with the restoration and operation of Hawaiian Airlines’ first aircraft, a 1929 Bellanca Pacemaker. “To this day, whether I am flying a robotic airplane or our Bellanca Pacemaker, there is no one more excited than me.”

Dunkerley will be honored Thursday evening as one of eight Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs Ho’oulu award-winners, an accolade he again credits to Hawaiian Airlines employees: “It is really everyone paddling the canoe in the same direction that has been the secret to our success.”

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