HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Airlines has decided to launch service to China, with three weekly flights to Beijing, authorities permitting.
Hawaiian filed the paperwork Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chief Commercial Officer Peter Ingram said in an appearance on "Hawaii News Now Sunrise."
"We've been looking at China for years," Ingram said. "And we've already got a Mandarin website and about 30 employees who speak Mandarin."
The route will generate at least 50 new jobs, probably more, Ingram said, especially considering that Hawaiian already gets a number of Chinese visitors through its service from Seoul, and he added that the airline would definitely be hiring more fluent Mandarin speakers.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority estimated that successful service three times weekly from Beijing would generate $81 million in annual visitor spending and more than $8 million in additional tax revenue for Hawaii.
A Chinese airline already has some direct flights to Honolulu from Shanghai.
Manila route to end
Hawaiian Airlines also announced Wednesday that it will discontinue its service to Manila at the end of July. The last return flight from the Philippines will take off Aug. 1.
"We were able to fly fairly full on the route," Ingram said, "but the fares we charged did not cover the costs on that route."
Hawaiian tried changing the aircraft used, and adjusted the schedule to make it more transfer-friendly, before deciding to abandon the route.
The decision will leave Philippine Air as the only carrier in the corridor.