Hawaii's tourism slump has been going on for almost two years. We're just now beginning to see signs of a rebound. Coincidentally we're seeing airlines adding new capacity to Hawaii. But is that a coincidence?
The answer may lie in precisely when the slump began. It did not start the day Lehman Brothers collapsed. It did not start when credit market seized up, or when California foreclosures soared. It started before all that, on March 31st, 2008, the day Aloha Airlines failed. Three days later ATA Airlines had failed, too, and like that we had lost a fifth of our airlift.
Local economists now say lack of capacity constrained tourism far more than recession did. That's why it's such welcome news that Delta, United, Alaska, Hawaiian and other airlines are ramping up their flights to Hawaii. To at least some extent, if we fly them, they will come.