Hawaiian seeks China connections via Japan

Washington DC
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Hawaiian Airlines plans to expand its network of interline agreements and codeshare partners to include connections between China and Hawaii over Japan.

The Honolulu-based carrier is "looking for opportunities" to connect passengers over Japan as it expands its access to the China market, say executives during its investors day on 3 December. It interlines with Air China to connect passengers between China and Hawaii over Seoul.

Hawaiian could expand its codeshare with All Nippon Airways (ANA) or its interline with Air China to include flights between Japan and China, as well as seek new partners for the market. The airline flies to Fukuoka, Osaka Kansai, Sapporo and Tokyo Haneda from Honolulu.

The airline has also started selling tickets through third party sales agents in Beijing and Shanghai as it expands in the market, executives say.

"That's giving us market knowledge," say executives on the Air China agreement and sales network. "It's giving us insight into how the guests make their decisions, what the seasonality is of the market, what the competition is, how different third party intermediaries behave and that's all an important part of the process."

Hawaiian plans to serve China in the future. A map of destinations around the world that the airline views as opportunities was presented at investors day that includes Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. However, Dunkerley reiterates that it is unlikely to begin service until US visa restrictions on Chinese nationals are reduced.

In a signal of how important visa restrictions are, the airline announced that it would begin flights to Taipei, Taiwan, in July 2013 on 3 December - little more than a month after the island nation joined the US visa waiver programme. The programme allows Taiwanese passport holders to enter the USA for leisure or business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days.

Hawaiian will fly three-times weekly between Honolulu and Taipei on a 294-seat Airbus A330-300.