Mainland air seats
could hit a record
American Airlines will add Hawaii flights next
month in line with a trend toward more service
between the state and the rest of the country
American Airlines will boost its Hawaii service in mid-June with new flights to Kona and to Lihue, Kauai, while the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau said this could be a record year for air seats from the mainland.
Dallas-based American said it will add three flights a week to its existing daily Los Angeles-Kona service. The new flights on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays will bring American's Los Angeles-Kona service to 10 flights a week, starting June 15.
On that date, American will also add four flights a week to its daily Los Angeles-Lihue service, bringing that direct run to 11 flights a week. American uses 168-passenger Boeing 757 aircraft on those routes.
The added Lihue flights will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, American said. The air carrier's changes will add nearly 1,200 seats a week to Hawaii.
Other airlines have announced bigger lift to Hawaii, including reinstating flights that were dropped and introducing new ones.
United Airlines said that in June it will reinstate a daily flight from San Francisco to Honolulu that was suspended for the month of May. United said yesterday it will also increase service from San Francisco to Maui and Kona in June, but details were not available.
Aloha Airlines earlier announced a daily service from Reno, Nev., to Honolulu starting July 1, using 124-passenger Boeing 737-200 aircraft, and Delta Air Lines said that on Aug. 1 it will resume the daily Atlanta-Honolulu service it dropped in April 2001.
Delta will use Boeing 767 airplanes seating up to 195 passengers.
An Alaska-based tour operator, Hawaiian Vacations, said it will run once-a-week flights to Maui from Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., from November through April, each carrying up to 202 passengers.
Those and other new services are expected to add about 300,000 seats into the Hawaii market this year, the HVCB said in its weekly online "Tourism Industry Update" yesterday.
Counting flights that have already been added or are planned, capacity to Hawaii from U.S. airports could total 5.76 million seats, the HVCB said. That would be 2.1 percent more than the previous record set in 2000, the HVCB said.
All of that good news is from the mainland. Flights from Asia to Hawaii continue to run behind last year's totals because of a reluctance to travel brought on by the war in Iraq and worsened by the spread of the respiratory disease SARS.
International airlines have curtailed some flights from Asia.
Through the first half of this month, 33,864 passengers arrived in Hawaii on flights from Japan, down 26,094 or 43.5 percent from the equivalent period last year, according to state figures.
An increase of 10,436 passengers from the mainland did not come close to countering the Asian shortfall. Arrivals from domestic airports in the first half of May were up 6.1 percent at 182,080 from 171,644 in the year-earlier period.
The new U.S. services to start this summer could improve that figure.