Eighty five years ago the carrier that was to become Hawaiian Airlines started commercial flights using a plane dubbed the "ugly duckling".
The Sikorsky S-38 amphibian plane was chosen as the first aircraft of what was then Inter Island Airlines because of its ability to use land or water. The manufacturer promoted the craft as the "world's safest airplane ... one that is at home in the air, on water and on land", says Hawaiian, an excellent book that marks the anniversary of the Honolulu-based company.
Airline nostalgia is big right now. Air New Zealand has just launched a major exhibition at Te Papa to celebrate 75 years and Qantas had a new Boeing 737 painted up in 1970s livery. Besides the book, a Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman in Honolulu said it celebrated with community activities and offers to passengers.
Hawaiian author Russ Banham has written the history of 25 companies and this book goes from the arrival of the great Polynesian voyagers in the Hawaiian islands to the recovery of an airline now expanding throughout the Pacific.
This week it finalised orders for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of some of the latest widebody Airbus planes.
It's been a bumpy journey for the carrier, which was renamed Hawaiian Airlines in 1941 and now flies to New Zealand. It endured a wartime attack, two bankruptcies, changes of ownership and until recently a revolving door of leadership.
During the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour by Japanese fighters all but one plane in the Hawaiian fleet was damaged, the book says. A new DC3 with 24 passengers on board that was about to take off was evacuated just in time "for them to watch awestruck as the last Japanese plane to pass over Rodgers Airport punctured the plane with bullets. The plane looked like a sieve".
World War II was a watershed for the airline. Martial law was declared and the islands became one large military base. Tourism evaporated, with only military staff visiting during the war years.
But the war inadvertently educated the public about air travel.
"The only way anybody could travel between the islands was by airplane," the book quotes airline captain Sam Elliot as saying.
"While some of them were a little skittish about it to begin with they finally screwed up enough courage."
The arrival of commercial jet services in the 1960s resulted in dramatically increased air traffic to and from Hawaii but the airline was largely a domestic one. The next two decades would see it add a world charter service, daily flights to the west coast of the United States and scheduled services throughout the South Pacific.
It was early in the 1960s that Hawaiian Airlines staff rubbed shoulders with entertainment royalty from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra.
Hawaiian captures the social and economic mood of the times - plus the uniforms from the Flower Power floral print dresses to lace up sandals and hot pants. The airline advertised an interisland hop with the slogan: "You're only with us for 28 minutes. We'll make every second count."
It's the reproductions of vintage posters, historic pictures of staff and classic old planes that really make this hard-back book, but Banham's warts-and-all text is an easily read account.
In the early 1970s the airline was making healthy profits but the good times didn't last.
Deregulation, the removal of federal subsidies, fare wars and reliability problems saw the airline slide into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1993. Although it traded its way out, Hawaiian again had to file for bankruptcy a decade later.
But a year after that it was in profit and was to appoint its chief executive of the past decade, Mark Dunkerley, a London School of Economics graduate and former ace aerobatic pilot.
Dunkerley, who once appeared playing himself on cop show Hawaii Five-O, also on occasions flies the airline's very first plane, a Bellanca CH300 Pacemaker, which it used to promote air travel before passengers were carried and whose story the book traces.
•Hawaiian - How Inovation, Tenacity and the Aloha Spirit shaped Hawaii's first airline, by Russ Banham, is published by Greenwich Publishing and is available through the airline's website for US$34.95 ($45.19).
Boost in worldwide air travel tipped as fuel costs and fares continue to fall
The group representing most airlines expects growth in air travel next year will be the the best since 2010, partly because of a sharp fall in fares.
International Air Transport Association forecasters expect 1 per cent of world gross domestic product to be spent on air transport in 2015, totalling more than US$820 billion ($1.06 trillion).
A wide-ranging paper by the association says profitability is returning to the sector but margins remain thin.
Air travel is accelerating, with growth of 7 per cent expected next year, the best since 2010, and well above the 5.5 per cent trend of the past 20 years.
This is being driven partly by the upturn of the economic cycle, but consumers would also benefit from cheaper travel due to the fall of fuel prices, with the average return fare (before surcharges and tax) of $458 in 2015 tipped to be 5.1 per cent lower than this year after inflation adjustment.
The upturn in economic activity driving these expectations is fragile, as weakness in Europe and Asia has shown. But an easing in fiscal austerity policies, continued expansionary monetary policy and progress in deleveraging the private sector, are all coming together to boost growth.
The price of air transport to users continues to fall, after adjusting for inflation. Compared to 20 years ago real transport costs have more than halved.
Iata estimates the value of international trade shipped by air next year will be US$7.3 trillion.
Airlines will benefit from fuel reductions of up to 40 per cent.
And there are plenty of new planes coming. Next year commercial airlines will take delivery of more than 1700 new aircraft costing around US$180 billion.