Hawaii air capacity up 27 percent

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - So many new flights have been added to Hawaii airline schedules that total air capacity is now up 27 percent from last year, based on March, April and May.

The state's rolling three-month census of air capacity, updated monthly by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, shows 3,083,064 air seats through May 31.

It has been years since Hawaii winter air capacity has exceeded 1 million seats a month, which explains why average hotel occupancy recently has been 80 percent or better in all four operating counties.

Capacity is up more than a third from the same time last year from both U.S. West and U.S. East (east of the Rockies) and up almost 13 percent from international points of origin.

Los Angeles capacity is up a third to 692,000 in the three-month period, 163,000 more seats than last year at the same time.

Combined seats from San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose total 492,000, up 111,000 from year-before levels. (Counting Sacramento would add another 45,000 seats to the total and 8,000 to the increase.)

For comparison, Japan originates 488,000 seats in the March-April-May period, up 11 percent or 49,000 more seats than last year. More than half of Japan seats still come through Tokyo Narita despite 70,000 from Tokyo Haneda and 81,000 through Osaka.

Seattle contributes 207,000 seats, also up a third, or 52,000 more seats than last year, and Portland originates 92,000 seats, up 28,000 seats from last year.

Phoenix is the next biggest domestic source of airlift with 156,000 seats, up 37,000 seats. No city farther east cones close, though Hawaiian's flights from New York JFK and United's nonstop from Washington Dulles, both less than a year ago, together account for 32,000 more seats.

Air capacity has shifted in recent years. Bellingham, Wash., north of Seattle has become an important throughput for Canadian visitors, now served by Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Travel, together accounting for more than 30,o00 seats in the three-month period, more capacity than Delta originates from Atlanta and almost as much as United originates from Chicago O'Hare, a market no longer connected to Hawaii by American.

Direct Canadian airlift, still mostly through Vancouver, accounts for 128,000 seats, up 14 percent from last year despite that added Bellingham connections. That compares with 108,000 seats from Seoul and Shanghai combined, and 94,000 from Australia and New Zealand combined.

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