DES PLAINES, Ill. — As part of a rebranding effort that will differentiate its premium “gold” fleet from its standard “silver” category coaches, Royal Star Hawaii has taken delivery of the first two of six 2014 MCI J4500 coaches meant to represent the company’s top-of-the-line offerings. When complete, the company’s gold fleet will reach 22 coaches, all 2009-or-newer MCI J4500s.
The new gold- and silver-level designations will replace the company’s previous “Royal Star” and “Super Star” designations. “The new design update achieves several goals,” said Marc Rubenstein, vice president and general manager. “It updates our 102 Series coaches with a modern look, clarifies the difference between brands with either a gold or silver choice, and unifies both gold and silver coaches under the same Royal Star brand. It’s part of an ongoing plan to keep the fleet looking fresh.”
The two new J4500s feature wheelchair lifts, lavatories, and A/V systems, and will be primarily used for island tours and transfers. The rest of the six-coach J4500 order will arrive later this year. “We’re an all MCI fleet, and have been for a long time,” said Rubenstein. “That said, we always research the market before purchasing more coaches, and we felt the J4500 was still the best coach for our needs.”
The J4500 underwent a redesign last year, gaining new LED headlamps, a slightly taller look and other improvements. The 2014 model arrives with the latest clean-diesel engine technology for lower emissions and better fuel economy, along with MCI’s MDSS suspension system for greater maneuverability and a smoother ride. Standard safety features include three-point passenger seatbelts, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring and a fire-suppression system.
Royal Star has served Hawaii since 1996 from its headquarters in Honolulu. About half of the company’s passenger groups are inbound from Asia, with the rest coming from the mainland United States.