Honolulu, Hawaii: US President Barack Obama and his family left Hawaii late Saturday where they had spent a Christmas vacation.

Air Force One carrying the president, his wife and their daughters took off from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam at about 9:30 pm local time (0730 GMT Sunday) and headed for Washington.

Obama initially began his vacation on 21 December, but was forced to interrupt it on 26 December and fly back to Washington to help lawmakers pass a tax package to avert the so-called fiscal cliff—a combination of stiff tax hikes and spending cuts that some economists warned could have plunged the United States into a new recession.

He returned to Hawaii on 2 January, as soon as the deal was passed by Congress.