Hong Kong investment fund takes 5% stake in Hawaiian

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Hong Kong-based private investment fund Oasis Management has taken a 5% stake in Hawaiian Airlines’ parent company.

Regulatory filings dated 4 November show that the fund made the purchase of 2,620,700 shares in Hawaiian Holdings on 30 October via a subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands.

Alex Shoghi, senior analyst with Oasis says that the fund invested in the airline because it believes it is “substantially undervalued”, as investors have not factored in the upside potential of its Asian network.

"More importantly, in the longer term, the market seems to be fundamentally overlooking the potential for Hawaiian as it opens direct routes to mainland China and as well as the company’s ability to begin returning cash to investors when it completes its current CAPEX program in 2015,” he adds.

Other sources close to the company tell Flightglobal Pro that Oasis also sees strong potential for the carrier to tap into the growing market for overseas leisure travel from the rising middle class in China, and believes that there will be more opportunities for the carrier to expand in that market.

Hawaiian plans to start direct services from Honolulu to Beijing in April 2014, having previously relied upon feeding Chinese passengers through Seoul Incheon airport under an interline agreement with Air China.

In recent years, the airline has also added services to Brisbane, Auckland, Sapporo and Taipei as part of a major push into the wider Asia Pacific market.

At a recent briefing, chief executive Mark Dunkerley noted that the rapid expansion of Hawaiian’s network will scale down as it enters a new phase where it will announce fewer new routes over the next couple of years.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database shows that Hawaiian has a fleet of 43 aircraft in service and has a further 31 on order.