Hawaii air capacity for rest of year: up 7% from 2009

By Howard Dicus

HONOULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite a net decline in seats from Japan, scheduled airline service to Hawaii during the fourth quarter will fly 2,250,348, up 7.1% from the same three months last year.

Capacity from the U.S. mainland will be up 11.1% to more than 1.6 million and capacity from Canada will be up 13.1% to nearly 79,000, compared to fourth quarter 2009, according to a tally produced from airline schedules by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

At least half of the reduction in Japanese capacity looks temporary, reflecting a gap between the cancellation of Japan Airlines service to Kona and the launch in late November of Hawaiian Airlines service from Tokyo Haneda.

Total capacity for October-November-December will be up 5.8% to Lihue (104,676), up 7.1% to Kona (151,404), and up 24.6% to Kahului (419,513) with each neighbor island getting nonstop flights from at least five U.S. mainland cities plus Vancouver.

Here are the airports sending the most seats, and typically the most visitors, to Hawaii:

  1. LAX 515,216, up 14%. Southern California send more visitors to Hawaii than anywhere else, including many who transfer from flights originating farther east, and about 240,000 seats fly directly to neighbor islands, reflecting a third of mainland capacity to Maui and the Big Island and more than half of mainland capacity to Kauai.
  2. Narita 270,430, down 7.3%. More than two-thirds of capacity from Japan still comes from Tokyo's massive international airport, which also sends transfer visitors from other points in Asia. Sharp cutbacks from Osaka and Nagoya still leave 75,000 seats from those cities and Hawaiian Airlines' new Haneda service will add 26,000 seats in the last five weeks of the quarter.
  3. SFO 262,662, up 3.1%. San Francisco is a major transfer point, a United Airlines hub. Add 100,000 seats from Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento, way up from last year, and Northern California rivals Japan as a source of visitors.
  4. SeaTac 168,434, up 8.6%. Always a busy Hawaii launching point for the old Northwest Airlines (now part of Delta), Hawaiian and Alaska now fly significant capacity here from Seattle, and some of these seats are packed with Canadians avoiding higher fares in their own country.
  5. Phoenix 108,684, up 18.1%. US Airways flies most of its Hawaii capacity out of the SkyHarbor and Hawaiian Airlines also serves Phoenix.
  6. Portland 79,809, up 7.9%. Hawaiian and Northwest used to own this corridor, but now Alaska Airlines battles with Hawaiian and Delta for business that includes a lot of Hawaii ex-pats.
  7. Vancouver 71,578, up 8.5%. Air Canada has competition from the Canadian discount carrier WestJet but there seems to be enough traffic for both. Note this increase is not seasonal but reflect a net increase from the previous season.

More than 60,000 seats will come to Hawaii in this quarter from the American Airlines headquarters hub at Dallas-Ft. Worth, and from Las Vegas.

More than 40,000 seats are scheduled from Chicago (with nonstop flights by both United and American), Seoul (up 25.6%) and Sydney (up 12.1%).

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