Following on from Hawaiian Airlines’ 7 flights last year where crew members incorporated Hawaiian Language into the standard boarding and in-flight announcements, early last month the airline announced an ‘olelo Hawai’i’ (Hawaiian language) certification program for its 7,200 plus employees broadening the carrier’s commitment to honor and perpetuate Hawai’is rich culture throughout its operations.
It is expected the Hawaiian language certification will inspire and empower team members to share Olelo Hawai’i with all guests. The program was spearheaded by team members within Hawaiian’s In-Flight Services department, which currently has 13 certified speakers. As more ‘ōlelo speakers are certified, they will help Hawaiian advance the language’s use throughout its operations, workplace and during interactions with guests
“This is an incredible moment for our ‘ohana and an opportunity for employees to share Hawai‘i’s mother tongue wide and far,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community relations at Hawaiian Airlines. “Language is a powerful tool, and we are proud to help keep the history and essence of these beautiful islands alive through ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i.”
The olelo Hawai’I certication is the latest of a host of cultural initiatives championed by the airline, including such as offering complimentary, introductory Hawaiian language and hula lessons to employees, giving its aircraft Hawaiian names, and celebrating new routes and special events with Hawaiian blessings. Last week, the airline unveiled a Hawaiian Culture Resource Center at its Honolulu headquarters where employees and visitors may explore Hawai‘i’s culture, language, geography and history via Native Hawaiian books.