Hawaiian Airlines has revealed plans to launch non-stop services between Honolulu and the Chinese capital, Beijing, from April 2014, pending approvals by US and Chinese regulatory agencies. The new service, Hawaiian's tenth new international destination since November 2010, will allow the increasing number of visitors from China better access into the Hawaiian Islands and alternative one-stop flight options to the US mainland.
The new service will be launched from Honolulu on April 16, 2014 and will operate three times each week using a 294-seat Airbus A330 aircraft. It will be the only non-stop service between Honolulu and Beijing, which has a population of more than 20 million and Hawaiian Air has specially allocated the route the flight number HA887 outbound from the US and HA888 for the return from China. The number ‘8’ is believed to have auspicious meanings in Chinese culture as its name sound similar to the word to the word that means ‘prosper’ or ‘wealth’.
“A scheduled flight between China and Hawai'i has long been an aspiration of Hawaiian and the travel industry in our state, and as the barriers to visitor travel from China to the United States slowly come down, we believe there will be significant demand for a Hawai'i vacation and Hawaiian Airlines.”Mark Dunkerley
President and Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiian Airlines
"A scheduled flight between China and Hawai'i has long been an aspiration of Hawaiian and the travel industry in our state, and as the barriers to visitor travel from China to the United States slowly come down, we believe there will be significant demand for a Hawai'i vacation and Hawaiian Airlines," said Mark Dunkerley, president and chief executive officer, Hawaiian Airlines. "With our network of flights between the islands and from Hawai'i to eleven cities in the US mainland, Hawaiian is in a great position to offer the multi-stop itinerary that many visitors from China prefer."
This new non-stop service will help to significantly grow visitor arrivals and expenditures from what is Hawai'I’s highest spending visitor market. According to data from the Hawaiian Tourist Authority, the China market continues to grow year-over-year, and for the full year 2013 it is targeting double-digit increases in arrivals (+25 per cent to 144,910 visitors) and expenditure (+27 per cent to $348 million). It estimates that the new service will generate $81 million in annual visitor expenditures and $8.47 million in tax revenue for Hawaii.
"I want to congratulate Hawaiian Airlines for its continued expansion into the Pacific Rim," said Hawaiian Governor Neil Abercrombie. "Hawaii is the anchor of the Asia Pacific region and this non-stop service to Beijing will give China greater access to Hawaii, which will become one of China's most important visitor destinations. Both China's and Hawaii's economies will be the direct beneficiaries. I have every confidence this non-stop service by Hawaiian Airlines will enhance the cultural understanding that already exists between China and Hawaii."
China Eastern Airlines currently operates the only non-stop scheduled flight between Hawaii and China. It launched twice weekly flights between Shanghai and Honolulu in August 2011, increasing frequency with a third weekly rotation from the start of this year. In 2012 an estimated 92,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on this route, although the direct routing of China Eastern only accounted for around 38 per cent of this demand. Despite no non-stop flights an estimated 57,000 bi-directional O&D passengers flew on the route between Beijing and Honolulu.
Alongside its growth into China, Hawaiian Airlines has confirmed it will end operations into the Philippines with the cancellation of its existing four times weekly route to Manila from this summer. The carrier says the “underperforming” route, which was inaugurated in April 2008, will close at the end of July with the last departure from Asia leaving the Filipino capital on August 1, 2013.
"High fuel prices and low fares have plagued this particular route and while we have made several efforts to improve the economic performance of our Manila service, including adjusting our flight schedule to optimise connections and upgrading to newer A330 aircraft, we've concluded that the route will not be a commercial success," explained Peter Ingram, chief commercial officer, Hawaiian Airlines.