Hawaiian defends airfares on neighbor islands

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - The chief executive of Hawaiian Airlines says airfares that have risen for travelers throughout Hawaii are reasonable given rises in fuel costs, government fees and other operating costs.

The Garden Island reported Thursday that CEO Mark Dunkerley of the airlines parent company, Hawaiian Holdings, says the airline operates on very tight profit margins.

Dunkerley told members of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce that the airline's profit for an overseas flight with 294 occupied seats is the equivalent of airfare for four passengers.

Hawaiian set a company record in 2013 with 9.9 million passengers.

Fares for flights to and from neighbor islands to Oahu have climbed 28 percent since 2004. But the company says gas, housing and college costs have risen more quickly over that time.

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