JAL not adding Golden Week flights this year
Golden Week, once the strongest travel period for Japanese visitors to Hawaii, has continued to lose some of its luster and lift this year.
Japan Airlines Corp. said yesterday that its Hawaii flights were closer to full -- about 81 percent -- than almost any other international routes for the traditional vacation period, which stretches from Friday to May 6 this year.
But that's mainly because air traffic to Hawaii from Japan is down 12.8 percent, said Gilbert Kimura, director of public relations for Japan Airlines.
"It seems like now the Japanese are staying closer to home because of the holiday sequence and because of terrorism and so forth," Kimura said.
Because demand for long-haul travel has decreased and the cost of fuel has increased, Japan Airlines did not add any additional Golden Week travel sections this year to its regularly scheduled Hawaii flights, he said. JAL is offering four daily flights from Tokyo and one daily flight from Nagoya and Osaka, Kimura said.
"Most flights are still available," Kimura said, but added that May 2 to May 6 is fully booked due to the last-minute rush.
Indeed, Hawaii is not the only destination experiencing reduced flight bookings, Kimura said. The airline announced the number of international passenger reservations for Japan flight departures in the period is presently down by 6.7 percent, and domestic passenger reservations are down by 3.1 percent on the same period in 2007. In fact, of all the long-haul destinations served by JAL, Hawaii has experienced the fewest Golden week losses for the year, Kimura said.
Short-haul destinations like Guam, South Korea and Taiwan are the only JAL visitor markets that are posting flight gains, Kimura said.