Hawaiian Airlines Takes Advantage of US Waiver Program Extension to Serve Taiwan

US carrier Hawaiian Airlines has announced plans to launch non-stop flights between Honolulu and the Taiwanese capital Taipei from July next year, further extending the airline's strategic expansion into Asia.  The introduction of the three times weekly route follows just weeks after the US Visa Waiver Program was extended to cover citizens of Taiwan.

"We have long known that there is demand for a Hawai'i vacation in Taiwan, but visits have been impeded by the cost, complexity and time it has taken its citizens to apply for a U.S. visitor visa. Now that Taiwan is part of the US Visa Waiver Program, we are delighted to be adding Taipei as the latest city in Hawaiian's growing Asia network," said Mark Dunkerley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiian Airlines.  "Our new service will also offer a convenient new way for many in Hawai'i and in our mainland US cities to connect with family, create new business relationships or visit Taiwan."

Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan and its economic center, with the surrounding metropolitan area of Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung being home to nearly seven million people.  As a whole, Taiwan has more than 23 million people and is considered one of the ‘Four Asian Tiger Economies’ with one of the highest Per Capita GDP in Asia.  Along with being a vibrant center of culture and pop Chinese entertainment, Taiwan is known for towering mountains, lush forests, an abundance of scenic attractions, and warm weather year-round.

The new Hawaiian Airlines link will mark the resumption of non-stop flights between Honolulu and the Taiwanese capital.  China Airlines and EVA Air have both previously served the route, with EVA Air last flying to Taipei in September 2006 and China Airlines last serving the market regularly in March 2010.  However, both Taiwanese carriers continue to serve the US mainland directly from Taipei with China Airlines offering flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco and EVA Air flying to Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

Hawaiian Airlines will operate the new Honolulu - Taipei route using its 294-seat Airbus A330-200s, adding nearly 46,000 new seats to the market annually to the benefit of Hawai'i's visitor industry.  In 2011 an estimated 1.47 million O&D passengers travelled between Taiwan and the USA, with approximately 15,000 passengers flying between Honolulu and Taipei.

According to the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, the economic impact of restoring non-stop service from Taipei will be significant for Hawai'i.  "This new nonstop service connecting Taiwan and Honolulu following Taiwan's entrance to the US Visa Waiver Program will help to expand the vastly growing Other Asia market," said Mike McCartney, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hawai'i Tourism Authority.  "We anticipate reaching 10,642 visitors from Taiwan in 2012 and this new flight will help to further increase arrivals from this region."

According to Mike McCartney, following South Korea's entrance to the Visa Waiver Program, arrivals from the country have increased by double-digits year-over-year.  “With the re-establishment of nonstop service, we would anticipate seeing similar growth from Taiwan," he added.

Taipei will be the eighth new Asian gateway that Hawaiian has introduced or announced new service to since November 2010, following Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Sapporo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Brisbane, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand (from March 13, 2013).

In the table below we highlight the rapid growth of Hawaiian Airlines’ capacity into the Far East, Australasia and Oceania regions during the past two years.  From offering 473 departures and 120,000 annual seats in this market place in 2010, itself a 13.4 per cent growth in flights and capacity on the previous 12 months, the carrier almost trebled its activities in 2011 with a further 50 per cent plus growth this year.

SCHEDULED AIR CAPACITY FOR HAWAIIAN AIRLINES INTO FAR EAST, AUSTRALASIA AND OCEANIA MARKETS (non-stop departures)

Year

Departures

% Change

Available Seats

% Change

2000

105

87.5 %

31,920

87.5 %

2001

87

(-17.1) %

26,448

(-17.1) %

2002

52

(-40.2) %

15,808

(-40.2) %

2003

54

3.8 %

13,868

(-12.3) %

2004

183

238.9 %

46,116

232.5 %

2005

262

43.2 %

66,024

43.2 %

2006

231

(-11.8) %

58,212

(-11.8) %

2007

208

(-10.0) %

52,416

(-10.0) %

2008

357

71.6 %

89,964

71.6 %

2009

417

16.8 %

105,084

16.8 %

2010

473

13.4 %

119,196

13.4 %

2011

1,287

172.1 %

331,800

178.4 %

2012

1,950

51.5 %

530,334

59.8 %