Allegiant to suspend most Hawaii flights

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Allegiant Air will suspend the majority of its new Hawaii flights on 14 August with the expectation to resume them for the next winter season.

The airline tells Flightglobal that it will place seven Hawaii routes on a "temporary seasonal hiatus".

Those routes are from Honolulu to Boise in Idaho, Eugene in Oregon, Spokane in Washington, Phoenix-Mesa in Arizona and Fresno, Stockton and Santa Maria in California.

Only a few routes will not be affected by the change. Those include Las Vegas-Honolulu, Bellingham, Washington-Honolulu and Bellingham-Maui.

The airline says it does not have a definitive date for when the flights will return, but adds it will have more information by the time it extends its schedule, which will happen late May or early June.

"At the moment we are anticipating a return for the holiday season," the airline says. "For the most part we anticipate [the flights] will all return."

Currently, Allegiant's schedule runs through 28 October.

Allegiant launched service to Hawaii in June 2012 using Boeing 757 aircraft.

The airline told Flightglobal in October 2012 that the new flights were "nicely profitable" and were showing strength.

But in October Allegiant scrapped a planned flight between Honolulu and Monterey, California, citing lack of demand.

Allegiant has also had maintenance problems with its six 757s, causing delays and generating negative publicity. In March, more than 1,700 passengers were delayed for up to two days due to mechanical problems, according to media reports.

According to Flightstats.com, Allegiant's Hawaii flights had on-time rates of roughly 50% between 15 January and 15 March.

Some flights had on-time rates as low as 20% and 30%, the data shows.

Allegiant tells Flightglobal that it is working to improve reliability.

"We are currently reviewing some maintenance issues we have had on the 757 fleet and have come up with action plans for improving reliability," the airline says. "Those action plans are in the works and we hope to see a marked improvement in reliability very quickly."

Allegiant adds that it knew ahead of time that the Hawaii flights could become seasonal if demand was not sufficient.

"Seeing as how our whole business model is based on leisure travel, its more efficient to cut back capacity and utilise our resources on less seasonal routes," the airline says.

Allegiant has not yet decided where it will deploy the 757s currently operated on the Hawaii flights, but says they could be used to add capacity to routes such as Las Vegas-Plattsburgh, New York, Las Vegas-Bellingham or Las Vegas-McAllen, Texas.

The 757s already operate on those routes, the airline says.