Business / In Brief • Apr. 12, 2013

Hong Kong visa waiver proposed

HONOLULU – U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono is pushing a plan to add Hong Kong to a list of places where tourists can qualify for visa waivers when visiting the United States.

Hirono said Thursday that the change would be small but would have a major effect on Hawaii’s economy.

Hirono says people from Hong Kong can visit more than 140 countries and territories right now without getting visas, but not the United States.

Now, 37 countries participate in the visa waiver program, including South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and France.

Travelers from visa waiver countries can stay in the United States for 90 days or less without a visa when they meet certain requirements.


Virgin America plans isle service

HONOLULU – Virgin America is planning to expand its service to Hawaii in 2015.

Airline spokeswoman Jennifer Thomas told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an email that it hopes to bring service to Hawaii when it adds more Airbus A320s to its fleet. The planes are equipped with sharklets, or wingtips, that improve fuel efficiency and enable the jet to make extended trips over water.

The A320 with sharklets can reach Hawaii from the West Coast.

The airline will be adding 10 Airbus jets with sharklets to its fleet from 2015 to 2016.