By Wendy Osher
Hawaiian Airlines launched new service from Honolulu to Beijing, China today, with non-stop flights being offered three times a week.
Airline representatives say the new service will add nearly 50,000 seats to both travel markets.
The new flights are expected to boost visitor arrivals from China by 37% in 2014, from the 132,000 China visitors recorded in 2013, according to information compiled by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and released by Hawaiian Airlines.
Tourism and airline officials say the China market is also the highest spending visitors to the state, spending an average of $397 per person, per day.
HTA president and CEO, Mike McCartney commented in an airline press release saying the new route is projected to provide an estimated $81.06 million in annual visitor spending, and $8.47 million in state tax revenue for Hawaiʻi.
Hawaiian Airlines president and chief executive officer, Mark Dunkerley also provided comment in a company press release saying, “Service to China has long been an aspiration of Hawaiian and the entire Hawaiʻi tourism community, making today’s inaugural flight an especially meaningful event.”
The flight will utilize an A330-200 aircraft, which has a capacity to carry 294 individuals, the announcement said.
The flight is the latest to be added to the Hawaiian Airlines international network, which already includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti.
Next month, Hawaiian will launch new daily year-round service between Los Angeles and Maui. The airline moved up the start date to May 2, 2014, one month earlier than originally planned, due to “robust demand.”
In addition to the early start, the airline also announced the addition of a second daily flight for the summer months between June 30 and Sept. 3, 2014.
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