Up, Up and Away

Heli USA Airways, a Las Vegas-based helicopter sightseeing company, has entered the Hawaii market with tours out of Princeville Airport on Kauai’s North Shore, and it plans to expand to two other Hawaiian islands within the year.

By: Marty Wentzel

Heli USA Airways, a Las Vegas-based helicopter sightseeing company, has entered the Hawaii market with tours out of Princeville Airport on Kauai’s North Shore, and it plans to expand to two other Hawaiian islands within the year.

To promote its Hawaii service, the firm is offering up to 25% commission to travel agents on sales of Heli USA vacation packages in Hawaii, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas through December 2003.

According to Heli USA spokesman John Power, the tour company purchased the assets of Hawaiian Helicopters in December 2000 and began flying out of Princeville in January 2001. It waited to hold its official blessing ceremony until July, when its four A-Star helicopters had been freshly painted with the image of the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele.

“Kauai was Heli USA’s first choice of operation in Hawaii,” Power said, “partly because Princeville Airport is the only independently operated airport in the state.”

Power said Heli USA’s facility at the Princeville Airport is within minutes, by air, of the major points of interest. “Princeville has the perfect location to operate sightseeing helicopter flights,” he said. Power expressed pride in Heli USA’s safety record. The company has flown more than 500,000 passengers without an accident.

Heli USA will launch several tours on Oahu on April 1, 2003, including an evening Honolulu/Waikiki City Lights flight, a 30-minute highlights tour and a 45-minute deluxe island flight.

According to Power, Heli USA is currently reviewing the possibilities of providing service on Maui at the end of October.

Itineraries

Clients on Kauai begin their Heli USA experiences with a surround-sound video presentation about Hawaii. From there they choose from several air tours.

" The 30-minute Garden Island Menehune flight provides a bird’s-eye view of rain forests, jagged mountains, sea cliffs, canyons and inaccessible beaches. Highlights include a close-up look at waterfalls on 3,400-foot Mt. Namolokama and a swoop over Waimea Canyon, the Alakai Swamp and Na Pali (cliffs) Coast along the North Shore. The rate for this flight is $99 per person.

" The 45-minute Garden Island Highlights tour takes passengers into the crater of Mt. Waialeale, whose 2,000-foot walls are laced with waterfalls. From there the tour heads to Hanapepe Valley and Manawaipuni Falls, featured in the film “Jurassic Park.” Passengers get an overview of Waimea Canyon, Alakai Swamp, Kalalau Valley and Na Pali Coast. The rate is $135.

" The 60-minute Garden Island Deluxe Alii Nui (high chief) tour starts with a fly-over of Mt. Waialeale and the town of Lihue. Clients might recognize Wailua Falls from its weekly appearance in the opening of the “Fantasy Island” television series. Other highlights include the Sleeping Giant mountain formation, Hanapepe Valley and its acres of taro patches, Waimea Canyon, Alakai Swamp, Kalalau Valley and Na Pali Coast. The cost is $179.

" Beginning this month, clients can book the 30-minute Sunset Champagne flight above Na Pali Coast for $149.

Heli USA was founded in 1996 by chief executive officer Nigel Turner, with service to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Today it flies more than 120,000 passengers a year and has international sales offices in England, Japan, Germany and Holland.

Call 800-359-8727.

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