HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Less than a year after launching nonflights between Washington D.C. and Honolulu, United Airlines has decided to cut the daily service back to once a week at the end of the summer.
In August the service, out of Dulles International Airport in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, will go from daily to five times a week. A month later, when the end of August heralds the end of vacation season in the nation's capital, service goes to once a week and stays so through the winter.
United launched the Dulles flights last June, the same month Hawaiian Airlines launches daily flights from New York JFK. Before these two routes were initiated, the only nonstops to Hawaii from east of Chicago were Delta's nonstop from Atlanta Hartsfield and United's former Continental nonstop from Newark Liberty. Visitor traffic from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states has been up since then.
Airline industry sources say demand for travel from the East Coast to Hawaii is highly seasonal with Caribbean destinations providing stiffer competition in the colder months. Additionally, the nation's capital is itself highly seasonal, with vacations taken predominantly over the summer.
The route is responsible for 20,210 seats in April, May and June, before the change begin, a tenth of all the current Hawaii airlift from the U.S. East region, which includes Chicago, Dallas and Houston as defined by state tourism researchers. Hawaiian's JFK service contributes 26,754 seats and the Newark nonstops contribute 21,385, according to data posted in recent days by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.