by Vinay Bhaskara
Honolulu, Hawaii based full service carrier Hawaiian Airlines has announced new service to Beijing, China, with thrice weekly flights commencing in April 2014 utilizing 294 seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft configured as (18P/276Y). The new service will be made possible because the existing 3 weekly flights to Manila in the Philippines will be cancelled from July 31st, 2013.
The new flights mark a continuation of the feverish Asian expansion begun by Hawaiian back in 2010, and fuelled by steady stream of A330 deliveries to sustain growth. Since June 2010, Hawaiian has added or announced new flights toSeoul Incheon, Osaka-Kansai, Fukuoka, Tokyo-Haneda, Sapporo, Brisbane, Auckland, Sendai, and Taipei. The flights are in large part a reflection of the changing nature of Hawaii’s tourism market; the traditional American and Japanese tourists are there in droves, but a rising number of affluent East Asians, especially Chinese, are making Hawaii a luxury destination of choice. And they are likely not done with growth to Asia, as Hawaiian has 11 more A330s scheduled for delivery.
As with China, Singapore, and the other East Asian nations, Indian tourism to China has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade. However, inbound arrivals to Hawaii are still nowhere near enough to support a nonstop flight. However, at current growth rates, within 5-6 years, demand should be strong enough to support direct one-stop flights between India and Hawaii. In fact to some degree, the market has actually been held back by a lack of convenient one-stop options between India and Hawaii. Currently, the only option is to connect onto United in Newark, which entails a journey of more than 28 hours. Especially once Hawaiian begins to take delivery of its Airbus A350 aircraft, with their lower operating costs, a one-stop tag to India from one of Hawaiian’s Asian destinations could be viable.