Executives at Hawaiian Airlines are studying a concept that could eventually see the carrier launch flights in regions other than the Hawaiian Islands, the company’s chief executive Mark Dunkerley tells Flightglobal.

Such a move would not come soon and remains undefined and uncertain, but Dunkerley says there may come a time when Hawaiian will have to look elsewhere if it intends to keep expanding.

He says: “We are looking to see, does the Hawaiian Airlines model work elsewhere?”

He adds that such a move is part of the carrier’s “big-picture, far-off-in-the-future [planning], as opposed to a here-and-now firm plan”.

Executives have considered an operation within the continental USA, as well as operations in foreign countries, he says.

“The conditions have got to be right and it certainly wouldn’t be straightforward or entirely easy,” Dunkerley says. “We are excited by it.”

Driving the long-term planning is a realisation that Hawaii will eventually no longer be able to accommodate increased travel demand, Dunkerley says.

“We think there is no doubt that Hawaii is an attractive destination and that more people want to visit Hawaii today than there [is] housing or accommodations,” he says.

Despite those limits, Hawaiian predicts demand for travel to Hawaii from Asia, particularly from China, will surge in the coming years.

To meet that demand, Hawaiian has said it will renew its expansion to Asia beginning around 2017.

“China will eventually be the dominant source of visitors to Hawaii,” Dunkerley says. “Whether it will be in five or 50 years, I don’t know, but we… want to be part of that story.”

Source: Cirium Dashboard