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Maui Airline Seat Capacity Rising in New Year

January 5, 2012, 12:30 PM HST · Updated January 5, 3:58 PM
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Scheduled nonstop seat to Maui are up 5.8% for the first quarter of 2012. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Sonia Isotov

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, has released its Airline Seat Capacity Outlook Report for the first quarter of 2012. The HTA’s projections are based on flights appearing in OAG and Sabre airline schedules as of December 2011.

Fueled by capacity increases from the US West, Japan, Canada, Oceania, China and South Korea markets, total scheduled nonstop air seats to Hawai‘i are expected to rise 3.8% over the same period last year.

For Maui, total scheduled nonstop air seats are expected to rise 5.8% over the same period last year, and increase 32.8% for Canadian nonstop air seats.

“Leading Neighbor Island growth is Kaua‘i (+25.8%), followed by Kahului (+5.8%) and Kona (+4.4%). Hilo is also expected to benefit from more than 16,000 air seats during the first quarter from Los Angeles and San Francisco due to direct service on United Airlines which began in June 2011”, said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of Hawaiian Airlines, in a written statement.

File photo.

Overall, air seat capacity to the US is anticipated to contract 1.8% in the first quarter. Air seat capacity in the US West market is expected to expand 0.9% in the first quarter, fueled by a 3.0% increase in the number of flights. However, this growth will be offset by a 21.4% decrease in seats from the eastern region of the country. The majority of the decline in seats from US East results from the suspension of flights from Minneapolis and reductions in service from Chicago and Houston.

On Maui, scheduled nonstop seats from the US market is expected to increase 1.5% fueled by a 3.5% increase in the number of scheduled nonstop flights. Maui’s US West market is expected to increase 2.6% in the first quarter, by a 4% increase in the number of scheduled nonstop flights.

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“With upcoming events, such as the Pro Bowl, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai and the Sony Open in January and the Hawaiian Islands International Soccer Tournament in February, we look forward to further increasing our national and international exposure to sustain the momentum in Hawaii’s visitor industry through 2012,” added McCartney.

Scheduled air seats from Japan are expected to increase 5.2% in this quarter, driven upwards by an 18.1% increase in seats from the Tokyo-Haneda route and a 62.4% increase in seats from Osaka. Furthermore, Delta Air Lines’ new flight from Fukuoka to Honolulu will contribute to the expected growth in this market.

First quarter seat capacity from Canada is expected to rise 28.2%, with the year-over-year growth in seats to the state fueled by an increase of service from Vancouver by WestJet, and by adding additional service from Calgary and Edmonton by WestJet.

New Asiana Airlines service and increased service by Hawaiian Airlines and Korean Air are expected to grow first quarter scheduled seat capacity on the Incheon-Honolulu route by 41.8%. In addition, the China Eastern Airlines’ twice-weekly scheduled Shanghai-Honolulu service continues to serve as a vital link between Hawaii and the rapidly expanding China market.

Kite surfing at Hookipa is an a great Maui adventure. Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ron Dahlquist

Air Australia’s new Brisbane-Honolulu and Melbourne-Honolulu routes, will add 18 new flights monthly and are expected to fuel a 78.3% first quarter increase in seats from Australia. Meanwhile, service from Sydney is expected to soar 40.4%, driven upwards by a nearly doubling of Hawaiian Airlines’ flights on the route, and an increase in service by Jetstar Airways. Finally, with a 3.1% increase in seats from New Zealand, overall seat capacity from Oceania is expected to rise by 68.4% in the first quarter.

Scheduled air seats to Lihue are expected to climb 25.8%, boosted by direct service from Oakland and San Jose. The other Neighbor Island airports will also see increased capacity with Kahului increasing 5.8% and Kona 4.4%. A new flight, launched from Los Angeles and San Francisco in June 2011, will provide an estimated 16,328 seats into Hilo during the first quarter of 2012.

For a copy of the complete Airline Seat Capacity Outlook Report for Jan-Mar 2012, please visit the Infrastructure Research page of the HTA’s Tourism Research Division website:  www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/research.

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