Page 23 - MidWeek - Oct 12, 2022
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           Airline Takes Flight With Its Commitment To Care
mentioned was my role with the Honolulu Gay & Lesbian Cultural Foundation.
  “That’s something that re- ally stood out and is one of the reasons why I absolutely love our company,” he adds. “There’s this really genu- ine desire to make sure that everyone is seen, heard and feels like they belong.”
This “culture of care,” as Chun dubs it, is what Alaska Airlines is all about. In fact, it’s what attracted the Milil- ani resident to the company in the first place.
Daniel Chun, sales, community and public relations director–Hawai‘i leads Alaska Airlines’ local partnerships, including nonprofits Kanu Hawai‘i (left) and Kāko‘o ‘Ōiwi (right). PHOTOS COURTESY ALASKA AIRLINES
“I have always found that Alaska’s heart has been in the right place,” says the University of Hawai‘i at Mā- noa graduate. “I know I can always trust it. Now, we’re not perfect, no company is, but I can always trust that the company will do the right thing or will strive to do the right thing. If we mess up, we are on a constant journey to learn and improve and ulti- mately be a better company for it.”
nonstop flights to West Coast cities, including Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, San Fran- cisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. Beyond that, though, it’s also donated mil- lions of dollars to hundreds of local nonprofit organiza- tions that support Hawai‘i’s next generations, a healthy tourism industry, medical and social efforts, and more. Past recipients include the Great Aloha Run, Make-A- Wish Hawai‘i, Aloha United Way, Girl Scouts of Hawai‘i, ClimbHI and Hawai‘i Lodg- ing & Tourism Association’s Citizen-Scholar Awards.
Department of Education on a project called “Paint the Plane” (see aircraft below) — one of Chun’s personal favorites — serves as the perfect example.
that was flying around our network all the way until earlier this year when it was retired.”
Alaska Airlines also part- nered with travel2change, a nonprofit that encourages travelers to make a difference by connecting them with the community through mean- ingful experiences, such as working taro fields, explor- ing local farms, venturing on an outrigger canoe, par- ticipating in beach cleanups and more. The company also bolstered Kanu Hawai‘i’s Pledge to Our Keiki, an ini- tiative created by students from across the state that asks visitors and residents alike to respect, care and preserve their island home. Alaska Airlines employees made the pledge and hope their guests do the same.
“My favorite thing is to be able to support this place that I love through a company
that shares the same desire of caring for this place and mak- ing sure that we improve Ha- wai‘i for everyone who lives here and everyone who calls Hawai‘i home, but also for everyone who has the good fortune to visit, as well,” says Chun who adds that another favorite part of his job is that he gets to say “yes” to phil- anthropic efforts a whole lot more than he has to say “no.”
our impact on the environ- ment because we do know that air travel overall has an incredible impact,” says Chun. “However, air travel is a very necessary thing to connect communities and for us to see friends and family, so it’s about how we can do it in a more sustainable and more responsible way. That’s super important to us and is something we’re working on day in and day out.”
In the 15 years since Alas- ka Airlines began flying to and from Hawai‘i, it’s ex- panded its service to four is- lands and now offers seven
“We were preparing to cel- ebrate our fifth anniversary and we really wanted to do something big to honor Ha- wai‘i. We love having fun ... and the idea came up for us to paint one of our airplanes for Hawai‘i. We really wanted to involve our young people to come up with the design,” says Chun.
On the horizon, Alaska Airlines plans to accelerate its sustainability efforts. It’s had a comprehensive recy- cling program since the ’ 80s and just recently removed millions of pounds of sin- gle-use plastic from its fleet by eliminating plastic water bottles, straws, packaging and cutlery and replacing them with compostable op- tions that won’t end up in a landfill.
Acknowledging that the biggest hurdle comes from jet fuel, Alaska Airlines has a goal to become the most fu- el-efficient airline by 2025. It also aspires to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 — 10 years earlier than the industry’s goal of 2050.
More than gifting mon- etary donations and free roundtrip tickets (but, hey, those are pretty great, too),
“We received more than 2,700 entries from every grade level on every island ... and we selected a Kaiser High School junior named Aaron Nee,” he continues. “We awarded cash scholar- ships to Aaron along with the top design winners from every grade level from K-12. Aaron’s design adorned our Spirit of the Islands airplane
“As we mark 15 years of flying to Hawai‘i this year, we really want to help keep it strong and beautiful for many future generations to enjoy,” concludes Chun.
Alaska Airlines is known to think outside of the box when it comes to com- munity outreach. Its collaboration with the state
“There’s very real ac- tion happening to reduce

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