ANALYSIS: Hawaiian seeks to boost Honolulu connections with more Oceania capacity

Washington DC
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Hawaiian Airlines’ additional flights to destinations in New Zealand and Australia are helping boost connecting traffic at the airline's Honolulu hub, the airline says.

Located in the central pacific, Honolulu is between the US mainland and Oceania. That makes it a convenient — and increasingly popular — connecting point for passengers headed from Australia and New Zealand to Hawaiian's US mainland destinations, Peter Ingram, Hawaiian’s chief commercial officer, tells Flightglobal.

He says the airline is building the Honolulu hub by adding more capacity on some international flights and by offering passengers the option of a free stopover in Hawaii.

A Honolulu stopover is particularly attractive to travellers from Australia and New Zealand, says Ingram. That's because those passengers tend to take longer vacations — in many cases two weeks — meaning they have enough time to make extra stops.

“Hawaii is proving to be a strong place for the Australian travellers,” says Ingram.

Hawaiian did not provide Flightglobal specific data showing growth of connecting traffic, but Ingram says Hawaiian has responded to higher-than-expected demand by adding flights this year to Australia and New Zealand.

Between 3 April and 1 June and between 11 September and 19 October, Hawaiian added three addition weekly flights from Honolulu to Sydney, up from seven flights weekly.

It also increased its Brisbane service to five times weekly from three times weekly between 13 September and 14 October, and increased its Auckland service between 19 September and 11 October to four weekly flights, from three.

Hawaiian operates the Sydney and Auckland flights using 294-seat Airbus A330s and the Brisbane flights using 262-seat Boeing 767s, according to flight schedules.

Since 2010, Hawaiian has began flying to nine international destinations from its Honolulu hub. During that time, the carrier’s international capacity in available seats climbed 503% to 724,510 in 2013, according to Flightglobal/Innovata data. Since 2005, Hawaiian's international traffic has grown more than 10-fold.

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The carrier began its westward push with service to Tokyo in late 2010, and has since added flights to four additional cities in Japan. Flights to Seoul began in 2011, and Hawaiian supplemented its service to Sydney, Australia, in 2012 with flights to Brisbane.

This year the carrier began flying to Taipei, Taiwan and Auckland, New Zealand. The carrier expects to begin service to Beijing in China in April 2014.