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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Hawaiian Airlines sacrificed profits in the winter quarter to maintain its growing long-haul route network, while mainland carriers complained of their own issues with rising costs and federal travel cutbacks.
"Disappointing but unsurprising," said CEO Mark Dunkerley as Hawaiian reported a $17 million first quarter loss, despite revenue up 13 percent and cost per seat mile down 8 percent from last year. "Our performance was undermined by an extraordinary increase in total industry capacity between Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast and in certain international markets during what is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year."
Dunkerley said strong performance by the interisland network helped, and cited cost control efforts. "Looking ahead," he said in a statement Tuesday, "published schedules show capacity beginning to decline in the second half."
By rapidly expanding, Hawaiian always has new routes that are still finding their customers, yet first quarter traffic was up 22 percent, not too far behind capacity, which was up 26 percent.
Earlier, Delta Air Lines, which flies to Hawaii from Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Japan, posted a $7 million profit for the winter quarter. While that is a tiny profit for one of the world's largest air carriers, it is Delta's first winter profit since 2000. Delta cited cost controls, but nine tenths of its profit could be attributed to lower jet fuel bills.
US Airways, which flies to Hawaii from Phoenix and Los Angeles, posted a $44 million dollar winter profit, but said revenue plunged 30 percent in March and blamed it on federal sequestration spending cuts. Federal department and agencies have cut travel budgets before almost anything else, and US Airways has a Washington D.C. hub.