Hawaiian Airlines grows international network; new Maui focus announced

Shinichiro Ito, CEO of ANA, and Mark Dunkerley, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines

Shinichiro Ito, CEO of ANA, and Mark Dunkerley, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, just signed a codeshare and FFP partnership agreement between the two airlines. Japan is now Hawaiian’s largest international market, even though the airline only began serving the country in November 2010.

Hawaiian Airlines ranks as the ninth largest airline in the US, if counting United/Continental and Southwest/AirTran as merged airlines. Hawaiian, which features in the opening credits for the relaunched version of the TV series Hawaii Five-0, is thereby the only major US airline to be based in a single state.

Chart: Hawaiian Airlines' traffic 2002-2011 - Annual passengers (millions) and load factors

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines’ growth has been quite dramatic in the last ten years. From the lowest level in 2004, passenger numbers had increased by 54% last year. The most dramatic – double-digit – growth occurred in 2007 and 2008. The latter year was notably when Hawaiian saw its main competitor Aloha Airlines cease operations.

As the airline has expanded in the last few years, its capacity has grown somewhat faster than the market and load factors have dropped by a few percentage points.

Hawaiian Airlines’ passenger numbers are evenly spread throughout the year, in 2011 ranging from 799,000 in July to 666,000 in February; a peak-to-off-peak ratio of only 1.2.

International expansion in Australasia

Chart: Hawaiian Airlines' markets - Change Jan 2012 vs 2011 (weekly one-way seat capacity)

Source: OAG Schedules iNet for w/c 16 January 2012 and 17 January 2011

Inter-island traffic within the state of Hawaii heavily dominates the airline’s network, making out 66% of scheduled seat capacity in the current schedule. However, this capacity is split on only seven routes; three from Honolulu on Oahu, three from Kahului on Maui and one between the two.

While traffic to the US mainland, which makes out an additional 26%, has declined somewhat in the last year, capacity to Japan has more than doubled and the airline also offers 75% more seats to Australia this January than last. Japan is now Hawaiian Airlines’ largest international market, even though the airline only began serving the country in November 2010. The reason for the fast growth of this market is largely Hawaiian’s launch in July last year of its second Japanese service after its Tokyo Haneda flights; a route from Honolulu to Osaka Kansai.

Hawaiian Airlines’ international expansion is entirely across the Pacific, with the Canadian market notably missing from the airline’s route map. The carrier is set to establish an even firmer hold of the Japanese market with its new codeshare partnership with All Nippon Airways, which takes effect this week.

Increased focus on Maui; New York route and 3rd to Japan

As part of Hawaiian’s expansion of Maui operations, the airline launched a new service to San Jose in northern California last week – competing with Alaska Airlines. This is the Hawaiian Airlines’ second route to the Silicon Valley airport after its Honolulu operations.

Since the beginning of 2010, Hawaiian Airlines has added six new routes to its network; notably all with its fleet of 767-300 aircraft.

Launch date Origin Destination WF*
05-Jun-10 Kahului, HI (OGG) Oakland, CA (OAK) 7
03-Oct-10 Kahului, HI (OGG) Las Vegas, NV (LAS) 2
17-Nov-10 Honolulu, HI (HNL) Tokyo Haneda (HND) 7
12-Jan-11 Honolulu, HI (HNL) Seoul Incheon (ICN) 4
12-Jul-11 Honolulu, HI (HNL) Osaka Kansai (KIX) 7
10-Jan-12 Kahului, HI (OGG) San Jose, CA (SJC) 3
*WF: Weekly Frequency at the time of launch

Three further routes are announced for later this year; two from Honolulu and one from Kahului. The airline’s third Japanese route, a daily service from Honolulu to Fukuoka launches on 16 April, and a daily service to New York JFK – a distance of over 8,000 kilometres – begins on 4 June.

Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO Mark Dunkerley last week revealed the airline’s plans to expand its secondary base at Kahului on Maui to hub status, increasing frequencies and adjusting schedules from the airport both within the state of Hawaii and to the mainland. Except for this week’s launch of San Jose flights and upgrade of Oakland flights from seasonal to year-round, the airline will reintroduce daily flights from the airport to Los Angeles on 21 June, operating during the summer season. The last time Hawaiian operated this route was in 2003.

The airline currently operates 15 717s for inter-island flights, 16 767-300s and 5 A330-200s, but is set to grow further with additional aircraft on order. Four additional 717s are planned to join the fleet, with three expected to be added imminently to support the Maui schedule boost, alongside 16 additional A330s, which eventually will replace the 767s. Hawaiian has also ordered six A350-800s. It has been noted that the aircraft, which are due to be delivered from 2017, even will enable non-stop flights to Europe.


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