ANALYSIS: Who is most on time from Hawaii? Not on-time leader Hawaiian Airlines

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Hawaiian Airlines may be the most timely airline in the USA, but the on-time performance of its long-haul, overseas flights from Hawaii are not much to brag about.

During a recent two-month period, some of the Honolulu-based company's flights from Hawaii to the US mainland and Asia had on-time rates in the 60% and 70% range, according to FlightStats.com.

Competitors on many of those routes, meanwhile, scored on-time rates above 80%, even 90%.

The data sheds light on imperfections at Hawaiian, which month after month is named the most timely airline in America by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

Data also shows the disparity between the performance on Hawaiian's long-haul, overseas routes, which generate the majority of revenue, and the timeliness of its high-frequency, intra-island flights that typically operate in favourable weather.

Hawaiian hops between islands using Boeing 717 aircraft, but crosses the Pacific with Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 767-300 aircraft. Executives have said the trans-Pacific flights, particularly those to international destinations, are key to the company's growth.

For the twelve months ending in May, Hawaiian led all other US carriers in the on-time arrival category for domestic flights, with 93% of its flights arriving on time, according to the US Department of Transportation's most-recent Air Travel Consumer Report, issued in July.

As it frequently does, Hawaiian called attention to the report in an 11 July media release.

Other major US carriers had on-time rates of between 75% and 86% during the period, according to the report, which classifies a flight as on time if it arrives less than 15 minutes after scheduled.

Imperfect widebody operations

Hawaiian's on-time rates for overseas routes are not as impressive.

Hawaiian's Honolulu to Seattle flights, for instance, logged an on-time record of 67% between 1 May and 30 June, according to FlightStats.com.

By comparison, 90% of flights operated on the Honolulu-Seattle route by Alaska Airlines arrived on-time during the period.

Hawaiian's flights from Honolulu to Oakland, Los Angeles and San Francisco, which had on-time rates of 72%, 79% and 80%, respectively, also lagged competitors, FlightStats.com shows.

On two routes with no competition - Honolulu to Sacramento and Honolulu to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport - Hawaiian had on time rates of 69% and 75%, respectively.

Hawaiian's flights to other mainland cities were more timely and more in-line with competitors, arriving on-time between 80% and 90% of the time to places like Phoenix, San Jose, Las Vegas, San Diego and Portland in Oregon.

FlightStats.com

International delays

The on-time rates for many of Hawaiian's international flights, which are not represented in the DOT's report, also lag competitors.

In May and June, flights to Brisbane, Australia and Fukuoka, Japan had on-time rates of 58% and 57%, respectively, according to FlightStats.com. The airline's flights to Auckland in New Zealand, Seoul in South Korea and Osaka in Japan were all on-time less than 75% of the time during the period.

Competitors like Japan Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways and others rated better, according to FlightStats.com.

Hawaiian did not comment specifically on the performance of its trans-Pacific flights, but tells Flightglobal, "We take the overall on-time performance very seriously and work to make sure all our flights depart and arrive on time."

FlightStats.com

Inter-island efficiency

Hawaiian retains its place as the nation's most on-time airline thanks to its intra-island network, which runs like clockwork.

Flights from Honolulu to island destinations like Kahului, Lihue, Hilo and Kona had on-time rates of 95% and higher between 1 May and 30 June, according to FlightStats.com.

On those routes Hawaiian's on-time performance bested competitors go! airlines and Island Air, says FlightStats.com

FlightStats.com

In 2013, Hawaiian will operate some 60,400 intra-island flights, 83% of the carrier's 73,000 domestic departures during the year, according to Flightglobal's Capstats database.

But Hawaiian's long-haul routes generate the majority of revenue.

Executives told investors in an April 2013 call that 44% of its passenger revenue comes from flights to the US mainland, while international flying generates 32% of revenue and inter-island flying generates 24%.

In April, executives said Hawaiian would draw down capacity on flights between Hawaii and the US mainland in the second and third quarter of 2013 due to industry-wide over capacity.

They said some of that capacity would be used to add seasonal flying to some international destinations.

Hawaiian began a push into Asia in 2010 and now serves roughly one dozen destinations in Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Tahiti and New Zealand. The airline plans to begin service to Beijing in China in April 2014.

In late 2012, Hawaiian's chief executive Mark Dunkerley told Flightglobal that the Asia-Pacific region would be key to Hawaiian's growth in the coming years, noting that some countries in the region had strong currencies and citizens with a growing desire to travel.

In the April call, however, executives revealed that flights to Japan were not performing as well as they had hoped due to weakness of the Japanese yen and increased competitive capacity.