United Airlines ending Orange County flights

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - United Airlines has decided to end flights between Honolulu and John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, Calif., due to lack of usage.

Continental Airlines, now a part of United Continental Corp., began the service in March 2010. United recently stopped flights between John Wayne and Kahului, and will end the Honolulu service Monday, except for some flights in June that were already booked.

The phaseout of Orange County service is a striking exception to the recent trend of U.S. mainland carriers increasing their service to Hawaii.

Aloha Airlines used to fly between Honolulu and Orange County, but that ended when Aloha shut down in 2008. Some Honolulu residents preferred to fly into John Wayne because, even if they were bound for Los Angeles, they found the longer freeway drive less of a nuisance than flying in and out of LAX. Aloha had also served Bob Hope International Airport in Burbank but ceased that service before the airline closed.

It is conceivable that a smaller airline with lower labor costs could make the John Wayne service work where United could not, but noise restrictions at John Wayne can translate to weight restrictions for some aircraft.

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